Adults in recovery: A year with members of the choirhouse

Robin Rio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This article presents a qualitative investigation of the therapeutic process of a group of people receiving music therapy who were homeless and living in a shelter or had recently transitioned out of a homeless shelter into a private home. The purpose ofthis qualitative research is a systematic review and analysis of the progress of music therapy clients through the emerging thematic material presented in sessions. All participants resided in a church–based shelter in a large metropolitan area in the southwestern United States, and were involved in the church gospel choir. Members of this gospel choir agreed to participate in a music therapy treatment and research project and explored issues of homelessness, substance abuse, interpersonal relationships, music, creativity, and spirituality. Participants worked to become aware of factors that contributed to homelessness, and to develop greater insight into personal issues that would aid in recovery from addiction and life on the street. Themes that emerged were emotional expression, beauty/spirituality, relationship, story, structure, create/risk, and health. Music therapy was the context for all these emergent themes, and appeared to be a meaningful therapeutic experience for the participants. Although the shelter was able to address housing, aesthetic, and spiritual needs, it is apparent that an inclusive medical and mental health treatment approach with music therapy as a primary treatment modality would be the most effective method for meeting the needs of the homeless.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-119
Number of pages13
JournalNordic Journal of Music Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005


  • Choir
  • Creative arts therapy
  • Homeless
  • Improvisation
  • Music therapy
  • Process oriented therapy
  • Qualitative research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Phychiatric Mental Health
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine


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