Music therapy for chronic fatigue following Epstein-Barr virus infection in adolescents


  • Gro Trondalen Centre for Research in Music and Health (CREMAH), Norwegian Academy of Music
  • Julie Mangersnes Akershus University Hospital and Oslo University Hospital
  • Lars Ole Bonde Aalborg university
  • Sadaf Malik Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog
  • Tarjei Tørre Asprusten Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog
  • Linn Rødevand Oslo University Hospital
  • Maria Pedersen Vestre Viken Hospital Trust, Drammen
  • Vegard Bruun Bratholm Wyller Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog




This research study, which was a part of arandomized controlled trial, explored music therapy as a part of an individually tailored mental training programfor Chronic Fatigue(CF) following Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in adolescents. This article presents the qualitative data stemming from the interviews, which focused on music therapy. The interviews were performed after completion of the program. The mental training program consisted of 10 sessions distributed between a family session (1), individual sessions with music therapy (4), and individual cognitive behavioral therapy (6). Music therapy included music listening, improvisation, song writing, instrument training, in addition to suggested homework. The analysis was informed through the procedure of Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA). Results indicated three main themes: i) personal capacity to act through music, ii) subjective understanding of the link between body and mind, and iii) inhabiting the music space. We suggest future music therapy program to be resource- and user oriented, improvisational, and offer training on an instrument. A vital component should be active music listening, comprising verbal communication, relaxation techniques and joint verbal reflection, to foster mentalization. The therapist and the client select music together, while playlists are negotiated, and invited homework included.

Author Biographies

Gro Trondalen, Centre for Research in Music and Health (CREMAH), Norwegian Academy of Music


Music therapist, PhD, Fellow of AMI

Julie Mangersnes, Akershus University Hospital and Oslo University Hospital

Music therapist

Lars Ole Bonde, Aalborg university

Professor Em.

PhD, Fellow of AMI, musicologist, music therapist

Sadaf Malik, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog


Tarjei Tørre Asprusten, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog


Linn Rødevand, Oslo University Hospital

Psychologist, PhD Fellow

Maria Pedersen, Vestre Viken Hospital Trust, Drammen


Vegard Bruun Bratholm Wyller, Akershus University Hospital, Lørenskog





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