Tones of freedom

Project leader:
Adrian Wangberg Drøsdal

Project period:
2014 –

Research centre:


Music therapy

Fellowship project
Ph.D. in Music Therapy

 A qualitative study of the experience of music therapy as a voluntary part of the treatment program for people within coercive mental health care.

This study investigates music therapy within coercive mental health care in Norway. Norwegian music therapy may be viewed as part of a social-academic movement that aims to enhance people´s possibilities for action, and work ethical guidelines for music music therapists in Norway stress self-determination for the client. But what happens when a humanistic-oriented discipline meets a medical model, in which participants are treated with restraints and coercive means? Research shows us that music therapy is an efficient approach for helping people with negative symptoms and low motivation for treatment. This project looks at the crossing between voluntary participation in music therapy and coercive treatment within mental health care.


The aim of the study is two-folded: this project will

  1. give voice to the participants
  2. strengthen reflexivity and awareness about music therapy in coercive mental health care.

A theoretical, ethical, and philosophical discussion on the matter will orbit around themes constructed from semi-structured interviews with music therapy participants.

Research questions

Important questions to be examined are as follows:

  1. Is voluntary music therapy experienced as voluntary, when treated involuntarily within mental health care?
  2. Why are people motivated to participate in music therapy voluntarily, when otherwise treated involuntarily?
  3. What is the role of music therapy for people in coercive mental health care, and for their recovery processes?

Project leader

Adrian Wangberg Drøsdal

Adrian Wangberg Drøsdal

Research Fellow

Music Therapy

Last updated: 2. September 2014