Group Music Therapy

Group Music Therapy: Stearns Music Therapy uses a trauma-informed and strength-based approach. We do this by providing a safe, stable, and low-stress sensory environment, validating emotions, and offering choices. Music therapy groups integrate creative self-expression with positive social interactions primarily through improvisation, active music-making in the moment.

Violin Hand

Why Groups? Group music therapy supports healthy communication skills, cooperation, listening, emotional expression, and utilizes problem solving. Focusing on the creative and expressive potentials of the person may enhance their sense of wholeness, strengthen inner resources, and bring insights to help construct new thought patterns and behaviors.

What happens in a group? 

  1. Assessment: Identifying strengths and concerns through family music therapy session and consultation.
  2. Treatment plan: Designing goals (areas of need) and objectives (measurable steps)
  3. Music Therapy Groups: Active treatment using a variety of methods (see below).
  4.  Documentation: Progress in all identified goal areas is documented and sent weekly.
  5. Treatment plans are reassessed and changed as needed.


  • Improve mood
  • Increase self-regulation
  • Strengthen social interactions
  • Enhance emotional expression
  • Increase relaxation
  • Learn self-compassion
  • Improve mindful awareness
  • Enhance creative self-expression

Methods and Benefits

  • Improvisation
    • Strengthens social cohesion, emotional expression, enhanced sense of control, self-advocacy (e.g., asking for volume to be softer), taking turns, listening, and accommodating.
  • Singing
    • Improves mood, improves energy through increased oxygen use, enhances focus and attention, emotional expression, social interactions, and strengthens social cohesion.
  • Song Lyrics Analysis
    • Listening and drawing insights from familiar song, identifying metaphors and meanings for personal use, and composing affirmations (positive self-statements).
  • Composing
    • Uses executive functioning (e.g., planning, decision making), choosing components of music, collaboration, creative self-expression, improved self-confidence, encourages emotional expression/self-disclosure (especially through songwriting)
  • Learning new skills
    • Accommodated instrument techniques (e.g., guitar, dulcimer, ukulele, drum) offer new way of communicating emotions, connect with self and others, strengthen fine and gross motor skills, focus and attention, and self-confidence.
  • Receptive Listening
    • Listening to recorded music enhances relaxation, or increases energy, evokes emotions, and is often combined with art expression, movement or imagery.

Age Groups

Gloria. photo

  • Children (ages 5-7) Goal Areas: improving impulse control, improving appropriate emotional expression, strengthening social interaction skills (e.g., eye contact, waiting turns, sharing materials, and learning new skills).
    • Methods: singing, instrument playing, instrument building, movement and
      music, music stories
  • Children (ages 8-12) Goals: improving focus and attention, strengthening self-confidence, increasing self-regulation, enhancing emotional expression, reducing anxiety.
    • Methods: improvisation, music storytelling, composition, improve awareness.
  • Adolescents (ages 13-17) Goals: improve mood, reduce anxiety, strengthen self-confidence, improve emotional self-regulation, reduce family conflict
    • Methods: songwriting, instrumental improvisation, learning new skills, song lyric analysis, art expression and music, mindfulness practices.
    • We also provide groups for youth with high functioning autism focusing on grounding techniques, stress reduction, social skills and emotional expression.Collab for Kids. drumming. handstand
  • Adults
    • Goals: Improve mood, enhance self-control, support recovery from substance use, reduce family conflict, strengthen parenting coping skills
    • Methods: receptive listening, music and imagery, singing, song lyric analysis, meditation and music, grounding techniques, mindfulness practices, writing music affirmations.
  • Seniors
    • Goals: improve focus and attention, increase energy, improve mood, support recovery from substance use, improve self-advocacy.
    • Methods: receptive listening, singing, reminiscence, movement and music, art expression and music.