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PhD Defence by Helen Leith

PhD Defence by Helen Leith

Music therapy and the resettlement of women prisoners: A mixed methods exploratory study


26.10.2014 kl. 11.59 - 15.00


Women form a minority (5%) in the UK prison system, which is predominantly designed for men. A high number of women prisoners bring experiences of trauma and abuse with them into the system. The incidence of mental health problems is inordinately high compared to the general population. Whilst an increasing number of UK music therapists work in forensic psychiatry providing treatment for mentally disordered offenders, there is a dearth of music therapists working in UK prisons. There is correspondingly little research into music therapy and women prisoners.

This study investigates whether there is a change in the self-perception of women prisoners attending music therapy, and whether, if this is the case, they show an improved ability to engage with prison resettlement interventions. It also examines the impact of different treatment lengths on outcomes.

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Examining Committee:

Professor Lars Ole Bonde, Aalborg University, DK (Chair)
Associate Professor Dr. Gro Trondalen, Norwegian Academy of Music, Oslo
Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe, University of Cambridge, UK


Associate Professor Niels Hannibal, Aalborg University
Professor Helen Odell-Miller, Anglia Ruskin University, UK


Department of Communication and Psychology


Anglia Ruskin University UK, Music Therapy Centre, Young Street, Cambridge, CB1 2LZ