Jacobsen, S. L. & Thompson, G. (Eds.). (2017). Music therapy with families: Therapeutic approaches and theoretical perspectives. London: Jessica Kingsley. AU $44.89, 344 pages (paperback), ISBN: 9781784501051 (e-book)
Stine Lindahl Jacobsen and Grace Thompson have brought together their considerable clinical and research experience to generate a consistently readable text which will be a strong resource for clinicians. The book provides 13 chapters by an array of authors and a final chapter by the editors. Each chapter is predictably organised with the consistent headings of Clinical population and setting; Theoretical background; Research; Therapeutic approach; Case Vignette; and a concluding Discussion. The authorship is international, drawing on the European and Australian alliances of the editors. The absence of authors from other areas of the world does not distract from the strength of the book.
The book has a chronological organization beginning with families with young children and ending with chapters about families that include older adults and those who are dying. While families with younger children do dominate, the nod to the idea of the lifespan gives useful respect to the place of all members of the family, acknowledging the shifting role of carer from adult to child.
The work of music therapy clinicians and researchers is shared across the chapters with some variation in tone. Some clinical authors provide a more practice-near sensibility (Froggett & Briggs, 2012), and research authors offer a more practice-distant stance, but between these there is an appealing depth to the information generated for readers.
Many of the authors write in the first person, thereby situating the work in their specific context. The prescribed headings ensure the reader has clear information about that context and the guiding principles for the work described. The case vignettes provide an intrinsic case which illustrates those core principles and sometimes produces a pleasing verisimilitude. The selection of topics captures work which champions the various roles of music therapy. The suitability of music as a protective factor is evident in Abad & Barrett’s writing about music early learning programs and Teggelove’s chapter about the highly successful Sing&Grow program. The concept of music therapy to repair relationships is nuanced and beautifully crafted by Tuomi & Tuulet (chapter 8), Oldfield (Chapter 3), and Pasiali (chapter 10). The more adaptive work needed for children with autism shows clarity and diversity of approach in the writing of Thompson (chapter 4) and Gottfried & College (chapter 5). The notion of creative holding is evident in Haslbeck’s NICU work (chapter 1) and Baron’s work within acute paediatrics (chapter 2). The salient role of music as a vehicle for families at risk of emotional and psychological complexity is beautifully encapsulated by Oldfield (chapter 3), Jacobsen (chapter 9) and Oscarsson (chapter 11). Finally, the refocusing of the lens for mature families is clearly presented by Ridder (chapter 12) and Lindstrom (chapter 13) to round out the full range of insightful work.
Perhaps the most exciting part of this book is the articulate list of “emerging characteristics” provided by the editors in the final chapter. The editors demonstrate their mature insight by usefully synthesising the common threads presented throughout the chapters to produce a speculative set of features that exemplify the expanding landscape for family-centred music therapy.
Froggett, L., & Briggs, S. (2012). Practice-near and practice-distant methods in human services research. Journal of Research Practice, 8(2), Article M9. Retrieved from http://jrp.icaap.org/index.php/jrp/article/view/318/276