Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Music



First Advisor

Dr. Edward Roth

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Fiore

Third Advisor

Dr. Angela Moe

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Nancy Mansberger


Music, trauma, trauma narrative, music therapy, grounded theory

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access


There is a lack of detailed literature describing how music is used for expressing and processing the trauma narrative. This study used a constructivist grounded theory approach through an anti-oppressive lens to explore the ways in which music therapists use music in exploring clients’ stories. The term “story” is used as opposed to “narrative” or “memory” to incorporate a broader definition of expression including non-verbal, musical, metaphorical, or any other method the client chooses. Eight board-certified music therapists (MT-BC) were interviewed regarding their use of music in the context of clients’ stories. Braun and Clarke’s reflexive thematic analysis was used to analyze the data. Three themes were constructed from the data. 1) Music Cultivates a Space for the Story, 2) Music Meets the Individuality of the Clients and their Story, and 3) Music Structures Healing Within the Story. One sub-theme was found in the second theme, Deep Processing Poses Potential Dangers. These results provide a picture of the roles music plays in processing a client’s story and may be beneficial in developing future research in this area.