Assessing & treating trauma: Music psychotherapy for parents of neonates


  • Joanne V. Loewy
  • Andrew Rossetti
  • Aimee Telsey
  • Ann Marie Dassler



Parents of neonates represent an integral area of potential clinical focus for practice consideration in NICU care. Fostering parents’ music as a unique forum, pre-emptive to the music they use for bonding with their infant, or for/with them exclusively, when their infants are not referred, can open many doors of critical relevance. Assessing the impact that early birth may have, and recognizing the experience of trauma that may potentially linger, can infringe upon valuable NICU time for parents and their infants. To address stress, and the potential of trauma, along with its definition and possible impact warrants knowledge of its symptomatology. In this article, stress will be defined, and the potential for acute stress and post traumatic stress disorder will be exemplified prior to addressing the potential parameters for music therapy involvement. Music psychotherapy for referred parents, with focused relevance to the ways in which impending fragility can be addressed with a holding environment of musical nurturance may provide meaningful moments of secured support. These moments, in turn, may likely serve as a safe space for the emergence of music connection with their infants. Our multi-disciplinary team will reflect upon experiences of collaborative practice with families who have experienced trauma related to premature birth. A case vignette highlighting the focal features of music psychotherapy with two parents and a video excerpt exemplifying their experience utilizing song of kin will follow.


Keywords: NICU MT, neonatology, song of kin, music medicine, infant stimulation, trauma






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