Chapter

Music therapy supports parent–infant attachments: In families affected by life threatening cancer

Clare O’Callaghan and Brigid Jordan

in Music Therapy and Parent–Infant Bonding

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199580514
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191728730 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199580514.003.0014
Music therapy supports parent–infant attachments: In families affected by life threatening cancer

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This chapter discusses how music therapy can help parents and infants affected by cancer. One of the most profoundly distressing aspects for parents with cancer is imagining that they will not be around to see their children grow up. Parents with infants with life threatening conditions may be so consumed by their own distress, fear, and anticipatory grief that they find it difficult to respond to the comfort needs of their children. Music therapy offers a range of methods that support parent-infant connectedness and attachment; promoting healthy relating and providing comfort for the work of adjustment which follows. Music therapy allows the experience of helpful musical moments, strategies, and legacies. This enables parents and infants to live more adaptively in the time available together and if ultimately separated, this prior experience can support infants' negotiation of future developmental transitions while easing the experience of bereavement.

Keywords: cancer patients; parents; music therapy; hospice care; cancer care; parent-infant bonding

Chapter.  7374 words. 

Subjects: Music Theory and Analysis

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