Background: Music therapy (MT) interventions are aimed at creating and developing a relationship between patient and therapist. However, there is a lack of validated observational instruments to consistently evaluate the MT process.
Aim: The purpose of this study was the validation of Music Therapy Session Assessment Scale (MT-SAS), designed to assess the relationship between therapist and patient during active MT sessions.
Methods: Videotapes of a single 30-min session per patient were considered. A pilot study on the videotapes of 10 patients was carried out to help refine the items, define the scoring system and improve inter-rater reliability among the five raters. Then, a validation study on 100 patients with different clinical conditions was carried out. The Italian MT-SAS was used throughout the process, although we also provide an English translation.
Results: The final scale consisted of 7 binary items accounting for eye contact, countenance, and nonverbal and sound-music communication. In the pilot study, raters were found to share an acceptable level of agreement in their assessments. Explorative factorial analysis disclosed a single homogeneous factor including 6 items (thus supporting an ordinal total score), with only the item about eye contact being unrelated to the others. Moreover, the existence of 2 different archetypal profiles of attuned and disattuned behaviours was highlighted through multiple correspondence analysis.
Conclusions: As suggested by the consistent results of 2 different analyses, MT-SAS is a reliable tool that globally evaluates sonorous-musical and nonverbal behaviours related to emotional attunement and empathetic relationship between patient and therapist during active MT sessions.
Keywords: assessment; communicative behaviours; music therapy; music therapy process; relationship.
Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.