Graduate Program

Clinical Psychology

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Semester of Degree Completion


Thesis Director

Caridad F. Brito


The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of music therapy on clients with substance abuse history attending group sessions in a behavioral health facility. Specifically, the mechanism by which lyric analysis or the musical component may lead to positive therapeutic outcomes was examined. In order to assess the effectiveness of music therapy techniques, a comparison was made between conditions of music alone, lyric analysis alone and music with lyric analysis. One may be able to argue that the mechanism by which music therapy affects clients may lay within the music itself and clients listening to that music. However, if the effects of music+ lyrical analysis are similar to those of lyrical analysis alone, and both are different from music alone, one may be able to argue that the mechanism by which music therapy affects clients may lay in the analysis of the lyrics itself and not due to the actual music. The participants consisted of 5 individuals who were attending weekly substance abuse group sessions at a behavioral health facility. Data were obtained through a questionnaire, which measured participants' perceived level of effectiveness, level of connection to others, and participation. As predicted, results showed that participants rated effectiveness, connection, and participation significantly higher during the music with lyric analysis condition than the music alone and lyric analysis alone conditions. Possible explanations for the results, including limitations and recommendations for the future, and clinical implications of the results, are discussed.