Art Therapy and Teenagers

The Role of Music in a Single Film After 1970 →


First of all, in the scope of this paper, it is essential to put an emphasis on the fact that a set of investigations related to the influence of the art therapy on the mental condition of people, has indicated that groups practicing music therapy may have positive impact on the bereaved teenagers. Some scholars consider that there is a strong relationship between young people and music, which, in turn, serves as a basis for emotional expression and connectedness that is utilized within the support and therapeutic group format.

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Applying music to the aesthetotherapy significantly differs from the usual music classes as it does not require some special skills and abilities for music. The main purpose of such art is self-realization and self-discovery.

The practical application of the art-therapy may be represented in different aspects. First of all, it is the rehabilitation of the mentally-diseased people; improvement of the psychological condition of the cancer diseased people; solving the inner and interpersonal conflicts; crisis conditions; existential and age crisis; traumas; losses; after stress diseases; neurotic and psychosomatic disorders, etc.

Music Therapy

While taking into consideration the management psychology, the application of the art-therapy is possible for people of all professions. It is an urgent issue for those individuals, who work with people, including the areas of service, health care, education, management, etc.

Additional attention should be paid to the fact that changes in self-perception have not been found by the scholars in the process of different investigations of this phenomenon as a result of participation, but at the same time, practically significant results have been indicated in adolescent coping. McFerran, Roberts, and O’Grady (2010) consider that the grief specific tools are recommended for being applied in the future investigations for capturing the emotional impact of music therapy in case of dealing with the state of grief among adults.

The next issue to be investigated in this paper is the potential role of music in the cases of adolescent bereavement. Music is regarded as one of the ways and approaches towards expressing hopes, feelings, and dreams by teenagers and adults. More than that, considerable consumer influence is exerted by music. It is possible to present the function of music in a metaphoric way as both window and mirror of the teenager and adult. While discussing the idea that music serves as a mirror, it is essential to put an emphasis on the fact that music is mainly dedicated to the reflection of the intrapersonal, personal and private roles, which may be fulfilled by it in case there is no expectation of the audience in terms of their musical engagement.

Such approach may be considered to be particularly important for a young bereaved person in case one’s internal responses towards a feeling of grief are obviously distinct from the public portrayal. The role of resenting the bereaved young people’s authentic but hidden emotions as they are related to the loss is played by music. Scholars have identified the emotional field as an essential psychological function in the timeframe of the developmental stage. More than that, it is possible to make a suggestion that even while taking into account the fact that music may be applied for the purely expressive purposes, there is a high likelihood that it may be also used for the meaning making.

Scholars consider that music is used by teenagers for reflecting their past experiences alongside with structuring their further directions. It is possible to claim that bereavement literature supports the concept of the meaning making (Neimeyer & Currier, 2008). As it has been noticed by McFerran, Roberts, and O’Grady (2010), the ideas of Roe (1987) are related to the image of a mirror, because in the scope of his research, music is suggested to play a reflective role in ten teenagers’ lives and in terms of self-perception in particular. Roe (1987) has put an emphasis on the fact that the reflective role is more inherent to music therapy rather than the internal state reflection as it is suggested by the meaning making. Roe (1987) has made an assumption that self-perception is not static, because it is mainly attributed to the evaluation made by the youth in terms of their past experiences and future success.

After conducting an analysis of the investigation made by McFerran, Roberts, and O’Grady (2010), in terms of the role of music as a window to the interpersonal, social, and cultural functions played by it in relation to the youth, additional attention should be paid to the scientific research conducted by Ruud (1997). This scholar has observed this relationship in terms of “performance of identity”. The author has distinguished such approach from the mirror-like constructions and considered that music ‘‘reflects’’ the soul of an individual. The core emphasis at this stage has been put on the ways music is used by people for asserting their public personality (McFerran, Roberts, and O’Grady, 2010, p. 544).

In other words, the kind of music, which has been consciously chosen by a young individual, is shared by people who surround this individual, no matter whether it is emo music combined with wearing black clothing and heavy eye make-up or classical music that is mainly associated with studious appearance.

Other scholars, who have conducted an investigation on the role of music therapy for individuals, have considered it a tool of the impression management and supported their opinion by the following evidence. Only some of the music preferences are shared by teenagers with their peers, while others are kept private.

It is possible to make a claim that such process is echoed in the way the life experience of grieving is shared by teenagers, because it is both challenging and risky for teenagers to grapple with the material issue related to emotions in a public forum, and it may cause the emergence of strained relationships with peers.

In the same way, the adolescents acknowledge the fact that their preferences in music may have consequences of both positives and negative nature in terms of other people’s evaluation. More than that, adults believe that in the majority of cases, their music preferences are strongly related to the music preferences of people of the same generation.

It is considered by the social psychologists that music has a badge function in the cases when the teenagers use music as a brand, which is essential for the identification of their attitudes, values and opinions in relation to others. Whether it is a badge of grieving or musical badge, the idea that the music is an integrative part of the conscious decision making and personal control is consistent.

Youth uses music as a tool for the mood management, which, in turn, may be understood as a curtain controlled by the young person in order to allow other people to see one’s actual state of mood to some extent. Such trend may be considered particularly pertinent in the grieving adolescent cases, because such people might potentially experience mood fluctuations, because they might be moving through restoration-oriented and loss-oriented states.

In accordance with the findings of the set of the studies conducted in the area of the influence of music on the mood condition of adults and youth, it is possible to make a statement that emotionally vulnerable teenagers tend to listen to music more frequently than their luckier peers. For instance, investigation of the Australian teenagers has indicated the following numerical expressions of such trend: unhappy teenagers listen to music nearly 30% more than their happy peers (McFerran, Roberts, & O’Grady, 2010). It is assumed by the scholars that such trend is mainly related to the young individuals’ unhappy state. At the same time, the core motivating factor for teenagers to listen to music is its usefulness in terms of managing the feelings, because in the majority of cases, they tend to select the kind of music needed for being listened to at particular moment of time (Saarikallio & Erkkila, 2007).

This process is largely unconscious, even taking into account the fact that the significant share of young people claims that they use music for feeling better (McFerran, 2011, p. 18). It is obvious that this purpose is not always achieved successfully as vulnerable young people are most likely to be negatively impacted by it. One of the core reasons for such trend’s occurrence is the delayed hedonic gratification, which is a process when certain feelings of an individual may be reflected in the particular kind of music, and as a result, the individual might momentarily feel worse, but afterwards the chosen kind of music would lead to the sense of relief. Scholars put an emphasis on the fact that this trend has not been fully investigated from the scientific point of view.

Even though music is used by the lion share of youth for effectively managing their moods and emotions, there is still a significant share of discussions among the scholars concerning more causative impact of music. There is a scientific hypothesis that music creates a stimulus that leads to the predictable negative behaviors, which, in turn, are mainly grounded on the nature of music.

Those scientific investigations, which have identified an interrelation between the antisocial behaviors occurrence as a result of listening to the heavy metal music, have been mainly applied for proving the fact that music itself causes particular behaviors, rather than being perceived as a mirror-like reflection of the internal condition of an individual or as an attempt of managing the particular state of mood.

It is essential to put an emphasis on the fact that the natural relationship between young people, music and grief has been applied by the music therapists in the international scopes. For instance, the set of the palliative care programs has been based on this interrelation and the positive outcomes of such therapy (Roberts, 2006, p.23).

Katrina McFerran (2011) has conducted a set of studies related to the music therapy and its impact on the Australian teenagers. The results of these studies consider that the useful balance between the emotional engagement and fun is promoted by music for teenagers and youth, especially in the cases when it takes place within the safety of the closed group promoting confidentiality and respect. The set of paradoxical elements of grieving are supported by the fact that youth is engaged in the musical activities, and as a result, teenagers have commented on the options of altruism, freedom, control and empathy.


To conclude, it is essential to put an emphasis on the fact that nowadays, every educated person should have a hobby along with being engaged in the professional activities. Many people are doing sports as an active means of entertainment, while others collect some amusing things, play musical instruments or draw pictures. It is possible to make a claim that a hobby should bring spiritual satisfaction for a person; one should relax while enjoying his or her hobby, express inner feelings and stay in solitude thinking, planning and simply enjoying life.

In the scope of this paper, music has been considered as a way of self-realization, expressing inner “me” and sharing feelings and emotions related to this art with others. Music is also considered an option of solving the psychological problems.

The practical application of music to the psychological trainings and correction of psychical deviations among people of all ages is a very important tool in today’s art-therapy related science (Slyter, 2012, p. 22). It allows people to reach the satisfaction of their spiritual needs, relax and solve psychological problems achieving better understanding of the personal ego, needs, strong and weak points, and psychological comfort.

The first art-therapeutic developments have taken place in ancient Greece, when people have used the art for mental disease correction on the primary level. Wide popularization of the science has taken place in the period of 1920-1930. It was established by Adrian Hill, the British doctor and artist who worked in the hospital with the tuberculosis diseased people both as a doctor and art-pedagogue.

More than that, the ability of music to express both joy and sorrow is highly appreciated by teenagers involved in the music therapy. Outside of this context, adults are provided with an option of expressing their grief-related emotions and their effective management by substituting them with other feelings being motivated by a particular work of music art.