The British Journal of Psychiatry has just published a new study about the use of improvisational music therapy to help patients with depression: Individual Music Therapy for Depression: Randomised Controlled Trial. You can find the abstract here.
This new study is important because it found that patients who had music therapy over 10 weeks had a significantly better score on depression and functioning tests than patients who only received traditional therapy. These positive effects lasted for 3 months! The researchers were also very observant of research methods in order to establish this music therapy research as bona fide experimental research. The authors wrote that they trained music therapists for 15 months in order to participant in the program. They wanted to make sure that music therapy interventions were given in the same style across sessions in order to eliminate the therapist as being the cause of change. The researchers were also careful to have blind observers and videotaped all sessions to ensure accuracy. Kudos to the Finnish team that carried this out!