Creating internal structure in the client-centered music therapy environment: The play experiences of a nine-year-old boy with autism
The purpose of this study was to explore the play experiences of Joseph, a nine-year-old boy with autism, both within client-centered music therapy sessions and in the natural play environment. I hoped to discover the meaning of Joseph's self-directed behaviors and to look at parallels between his behaviors both in the natural play environment and in the client-centered music therapy setting. I collected data from client-centered music therapy sessions, interviews with his regular education and resource teachers, and observations of natural play. I analyzed verbatim session and interview transcripts, session videotapes, and my process notes from each experience. Joseph's play behaviors included singing, dancing, running, fighting, hiding, and laughing. Similar themes between the two environments did emerge, grounded in the data from both settings. Joseph began the process of creating his own internal structure in music therapy through self-directed behaviors such as musical play, verbalizations, and non-musical play. A theory emerged, represented by a model, describing how Joseph created internal structure in the music therapy setting.