Intervention Inspiration Series: Therapeutic Intervention

As a new initiative for MTSA this summer, we are choosing to share different ideas for Music Therapy practice in the hopes that this will provide a valuable resource for beginning music therapists and as inspiration for practicing therapists. Every Monday, a different intervention idea will be presented. They will be very basic and will be best as beginning inspiration to be varied and adapted for different clinical settings. They may include specific music, but will typically only indicate the style of music to be incorporated.
The following basic format will be given for each intervention: 1) Activity, the type of intervention; 2) Target population, the intended client population for the intervention; 3) Materials, the instruments and supplies required; 4) Goals/Aims, ideas for goals or aims that could be addressed in the intervention; 5) Method, a detailed description of what would occur during the intervention; 6) Comments, an explanation of why this intervention is applicable for the given client population and how the goals/aims are addressed; and 7) Evaluation, questions to allow for reflection on whether or not the intervention was effective for a particular client or clients.

Printable Version (PDF File)

Therapeutic Intervention

by Kristen DiMarco

 Intervention Series - Therapeutic Intervention

Photo Source


Group Improvisation on the Drum

Target Population:

Young Adults with Eating Disorders


Various Drums (bongo, conga, djembe, etc.)


  • To encourage emotional expression through non-verbal medium
  • To facilitate confidence in expression of self
  • To promote verbal expression of feelings and encourage discussion of those feelings
  • To validate emotional expression of difficult feelings
  • To share feelings and learn the feelings of peers who have gone through similar experiences
  • To facilitate social interaction
  • To build group cohesion and trust


The therapist will ask each group member to select a drum. Each person will get the chance to set the mood or the “heart beat” for the a portion of the improvisation and everyone else will join in playing to create the mood together. The group should stop playing when it is the next person’s turn to set the mood.

After the improvisation is complete, the music therapist will encourage participants to discuss the mood(s) they were expressing and reflect on potential reasons for these feelings. Further discussion may pertain to common feelings among the group members and ideas to work through difficult feelings. It may be valuable to discuss how participants enjoyed the improvisation process or why they chose a particular instrument.


Individuals recovering from eating disorders often experience feelings of anxiety as they are expected to stop relying on eating disorder behaviours as a form of coping. Clients can feel like they have no control over their life and personal choices. Improvising on the drum provides an experience in which the client has control. They are also experiencing an alternative, non-verbal form of expression and coping with emotions. By having the group improvise on a mood chosen by each client, participants are given a sense of support from their peers. This helps create group cohesion and social interactions among the group, which will hopefully encourage group discussion.


  • Did all clients participate in the improvisation?
  • Did clients seem comfortable improvising?
  • Was there enough trust among the group for the clients to feel comfortable expressing themselves?
  • If not, how can this be established?
  • Did group members acknowledge others when they were setting the mood for the improvisation?
  • Did group members make eye contact when interacting with each other?
  • Did the improvisation provide a basis for discussion?
  • What might further discussion be in the future?
  • Did participants make any comments about engaging in improvisation?

About Laurier MTSA

We are a student association at Wilfrid Laurier University and most of our members are students in the Music Therapy program. We exist to educate about, promote, and support the work of music therapy, and to support the academic, career, and personal needs of the Music Therapy Students. Our mandate is to unite prospective, current and alumni students while promoting our profession in the larger community.
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