Meaning making process and recovery journeys explored through songwriting in early neurorehabilitation: Exploring the perspectives of participants of their self-composed songs through the interpretative phenomenological analysis

Felicity A. Baker, Jeanette Tamplin, Nikki Rickard, Peter New, Jennie Ponsford, Chantal Roddy, Young-Eun C. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: This pilot study examined how 15 participants in early rehabilitation described their self-composed Songs 6-to 12-months following participation in a 6-week identity-focused songwriting program. Specific focus was given to the process of meaning making and identity reconstruction in the participants' self-composed songs. Methods: Data were collected through individual semi-structured interviews (n = 15) and analyzed using interpretative phenomenological analysis. Findings were developed idiographically as super-ordinate themes unique to each participant, then analyzed across cases to identify recurrent themes and subthemes. Results: Participants described the songwriting process as taking them through one of four distinct recovery journeys described by individuals following acquired neurodisability who underwent a focused therapeutic songwriting program. These included (1) re-conceptualizing values and shifting perspectives about self (my body is broken but my mind has been set free); (2) recognizing acquired inner resources to negotiate discrepancies in self (hope is there); (3) confirming existing values and identifying resources and coping strategies (I have what I need to move forward); (4) confirming previously held values and ongoing process of negotiating discrepancies in self (I don't yet have the answers). Conclusion: The current study provides insight into the nature and process of meaning making and recovery journeys perceived by individuals with neurodisability. Our findings suggest that songwriting could be a therapeutic tool to facilitate identity reconstruction in neurorehabilitation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1422
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 7 Aug 2018


  • Acquired brain injury
  • Identity
  • Meaning making
  • Music therapy
  • Recovery journey
  • Selfconcept
  • Songwriting
  • Spinal cord injuries

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