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dc.contributor.authorErkkilä, Jaakko
dc.contributor.authorGold, Christian
dc.contributor.authorFachner, Jörg
dc.contributor.authorAla-Ruona, Esa
dc.contributor.authorPunkanen, Marko
dc.contributor.authorVanhala, Mauno
dc.identifier.citationErkkilä, J., Gold, C., Fachner, J., Ala-Ruona, E., Punkanen, M., & Vanhala, M. (2008). The effect of improvisational music therapy on the treatment of depression: protocol for a randomised controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry, 8 (50). Retrieved from
dc.description.abstractBackground. Music therapy is frequently offered to individuals suffering from depression. Despite the lack of research into the effects of music therapy on this population, anecdotal evidence suggests that the results are rather promising. The aim of this study is to examine whether improvisational, psychodynamically orientated music therapy in an individual setting helps reduce symptoms of depression and improve other health-related outcomes. In particular, attention will be given to mediator agents, such as musical expression and interaction in the sessions, as well as to the explanatory potential of EEG recordings in investigating emotion related music perception of individuals with depression. Methods. 85 adults (18–50 years of age) with depression (ICD-10: F 32 or F33) will be randomly assigned to an experimental or a control condition. All participants will receive standard care, but the experimental group will be offered biweekly sessions of improvisational music therapy over a period of 3 months. A blind assessor will measure outcomes before testing, after 3 months, and after 6 months. Discussion. This study aims to fill a gap in knowledge as to whether active (improvisational) music therapy applied to people with depression improves their condition. For the first time in this context, the mediating processes, such as changes in musical expression and interaction during the course of therapy, will be objectively investigated, and it is expected that the results will provide new insights into these processes. Furthermore, the findings are expected to reveal whether music related emotional experiences, as measured by EEG, can be utilized in assessing a depressive client's improvement in the therapy. The size and the comprehensiveness of the study are sufficient for generalizing its findings to clinical practice as well as to further music therapy research. Trial registration. ISRCTN84185937
dc.publisherBioMed Central (BMC)
dc.relation.ispartofseriesBMC Psychiatry
dc.subject.othermusic therapy
dc.subject.otherrandomised controlled trial
dc.titleThe effect of improvisational music therapy on the treatment of depression: protocol for a randomised controlled trial
dc.contributor.laitosMusiikin laitosfi
dc.contributor.laitosDepartment of Musicen
dc.rights.holderJaakko Erkkilä et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
dc.type.coarjournal article
dc.rights.copyright© 2008 Erkkilä et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Jaakko Erkkilä et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as Jaakko Erkkilä et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.