Songwriting To Effect Changes In Self-concept And Wellbeing Following Acquired Brain Injury Or Spinal Cord Injury: A Feasibility Study

Associate Professor Felicity Baker

Old Arts Theatre B, University Of Melbourne, Parkville


6:00 pm

People who have acquired a brain or spinal cord injury often experience significant emotional upheaval as they begin to process and acknowledge the long-term implications of their injuries. This feasibility study examined the effect of a targeted songwriting intervention on self-concept and wellbeing in adults with acquired brain injury or spinal cord injury. Six inpatients undergoing rehabilitation following a brain or spinal cord injury participated in 12 individual songwriting sessions over 6 weeks. The sessions were designed to support participants to create songs that explored issues of identity – with the aim of integrating aspects of the past pre-injured self with that of the new injured self. Participants created 3 songs – a song about the past self, the present self, and a future self. They completed a battery of pre, post, and follow up standardized measures designed to determine changes in self-concept, affect, anxiety and depression, satisfaction with life, and sense of flourishing. Changes to self-concept and wellbeing were in the positive direction demonstrating the capacity for this methodology to detect changes in this population. Data collection from control group participants is currently under way which will enable stronger inferences about the effects of the intervention. This presentation will discuss the findings to date and illustrate how self-concept changes are reflected in song lyrics.