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News #Forschung#Musiktherapie

Researchers look into the therapeutic effects of music

People respond to music. And its healthcare applications encompass all stages of life – from neonatology through to palliative care. At the Josef Ressel Centre (JRC) for establishing principles of personalised music therapy, which is based at IMC Krems, researchers are exploring innovative new ways of developing the scientific basis for music therapy. The JRC has three project strands linked by the question of how evidence-based research can be carried out in conditions that replicate real-life clinical practice as closely as possible. This requires taking a mobile laboratory out into the field, and designing research processes adapted to real clinical circumstances. 

The Josef Ressel Centre at IMC Krems is dedicated to formulating evidence-based scientific principles for personalised music therapy in selected areas of neurological rehabilitation.

Music in healthcare

Music therapy is a form of treatment which addresses patients’ individual needs by means of dialogue-based methods, and in addition to being used to achieve functional goals, also promotes social and communicative abilities and helps people to cope with the emotional repercussions of their ill health. The JRC at IMC Krems is dedicated to devising evidence-based principles for personalised music therapy in phase C neurological rehabilitation. “Inspired by the possibilities in medicine and pharmacology, at the Josef Ressel Centre we’re conducting in-depth investigations into personalisation in the context of music therapy. We’re asking ourselves how music therapy can be personalised for each and every patient, and what methods and criteria are required for high-quality individualised research. Our goal is to develop principles for tailored music therapy based on both music therapy expertise as well as the participative involvement of patients in practice,” explains Prof. Gerhard Tucek, Director of the JRC and Head of IMC Krems’ Therapeutic Sciences Institute.

Right periods 

The ‘right periods’ research focus is geared towards determining the best time periods, in psychological and physiological terms, for music-therapy interventions with individual patients. Both patients and therapists experience highs and lows in various activity levels  over the course of the day. There are currently no suitable definitions or measurement tools for such right periods for (non-pharmacological) therapy. However, the JRC team is working on the assumption that there are phases during which patients receive maximum benefit from treatment and therapists are able to administer it most effectively. This is a prerequisite for effective therapeutic encounters. 

Right moments

The JRC’s second research focus is concerned with the most effective points in time for therapeutic encounters, or ‘right moments’. The aim of this project, implemented in cooperation with Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, is to identify significant moments and resonance in the therapeutic interaction between patients and therapists, and carry out research into their neural correlates. Gerhard Tucek and his team are using the social neuroscience model  to describe these moments in scientific terms, and are employing hyperscanning – EEGs connected in parallel – to investigate the phenomenon. The findings will subsequently feed into training for music therapists, as well as into their practical work. 

About the Josef Ressel Centre

The Josef Ressel Centres carry out high-level application-driven research, which involves collaboration between outstanding researchers and innovative companies. The corporate partners of the Josef Ressel Centre for establishing principles of personalised music therapy at IMC Krems are NÖGUS and Niederösterreichische Landeskliniken Holding, pro mente Reha, and s-team IT solutions GmbH. The Centre’s research partners are St. Pölten University of Applied Sciences, the Health University of Applied Sciences Tyrol, and Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge. It is jointly funded by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, the Christian Doppler Research Association and the participating companies.  

About Gerhard Tucek   

Prof. Gerhard Tucek is a music therapist and anthropologist, he is Head of the Institute for Therapy Research at IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems and Director of the Josef Ressel Centre for establishing principles of personalised music therapy.

Science Coffee Talk

a coffee and a chat with Gerhard Tucek
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