Addressing issues of ethnicity and identity in palliative care through music therapy practice

Addressing issues of ethnicity and identity in palliative care through music therapy practice

Abstract

In preparing for their death, patients with terminal illnesses may express a need to explore and confirm their identity in terms of their familial, social, cultural and ethnic heritage. This article examines the mechanisms which underlie the construction of individual and basic group identity, the latter of which is also referred to as ethnicity. The maintenance and evolution of identity over time and across different places is explored, and the use of music as a means to construct, express and sustain identity discussed. Finally, the role of music therapy, and specifically the use of music-facilitated life-review in addressing issues of ethnicity and identity in palliative care is explored through the case study of "Gretel", an Australian woman of Russian descent who was diagnosed with a terminal illness.

 

Keywords: terminal illness; ethnicity; identity; palliative care; music-facilitated life-review


Citation

Forrest, L. C. (2000). Addressing issues of ethnicity and identity in palliative care through music therapy practice. Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 11, 23-37.


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Date published: July 2000