The Clinician's Guide to Forensic Music Therapy by Dr Stella Compton Dickinson and Dr Laurien Hakvoort - press release

‘The Clinician's Guide to Forensic Music Therapy’ by Dr Stella Compton Dickinson and Dr Laurien Hakvoort, is the first book to offer clear, evidence-based manuals for forensic music therapists in the treatment and recovery of men and women in secure hospitals and prisons. 

Given the current government drive towards understanding mental health treatment and costs of the incarceration of prisoners and overcrowding of prisons, this is a timely publication.

This book is the outcome of rigorous health service research over fifteen years and independently conducted research from the Netherlands. (Hakvoort) 

The UK model was developed in a national high secure hospital by Compton Dickinson over fifteen years of rigorous research and development.

The results indicate that the psychologically based manualised model of music therapy called Group Cognitive Analytic Music Therapy ((G-CAMT) Compton Dickinson 2015: Kellett, Hall and Compton Dickinson 2017 in press), can improve sociability, reducing risk-related impulsive behaviours which include restrictive, possessive and other antisocial responses that would otherwise put the general public at risk of violence. 

Furthermore, the indication of the randomised controlled trial is that the impact of this intervention is sustained rather than transient and that a future study is needed to further ascertain that the length of stay in a secure hospital setting may be reduced when the G-CAMT model of Music Therapy is included as part of multi-disciplinary offence-related treatment.

Unlike using only recreational music, the two Forensic Music Therapy manualised models described in the book have a rigorous evidence base of clinical effectiveness and they are tailored for vulnerable adults, many of whom have been traumatised early in their lives - so they are both victim and perpetrator.  There are international and human rights implications in exploring the treatability of treatment resistant and older patients. 

‘The Clinician's Guide to Forensic Music Therapy’ is a clinically proven and highly pragmatic new treatment manual to aid music therapists in treating and understanding patients' needs in forensic and other secure psychiatric settings.

The book provides information and advice on how to deliver, effectively and safely, two context-specific, systematic approaches in forensic music therapy.

‘The Clinician's Guide to Forensic Music Therapy’ contains two clinically tested treatment manuals which have been specifically designed for use by music therapists and other clinicians working in prisons and secure hospital settings. They provide in-depth practical guidance for a variety of contexts and specific attention is given to risk assessment, responsivity to treatment and recovery.

Since all inmates and patients in prisons and secure hospitals have committed offences, the issue of whether or not they are treatable, and how this may be undertaken effectively is the central tenet of the book. Referred to as ‘forensic patients’, all have passed though the criminal justice system and all have psychiatric diagnoses. The authors consider how music therapy can contribute to the lives and treatment of men and women who have committed offences and are incarcerated.

Drawing upon mindfulness, neuroscience group analysis, cognitive analytic and cognitive behavioural science and sociology, Dr Compton Dickinson and Hakvoort offer finely tuned music therapy treatment interventions for a variety of patients and settings.

The issues addressed in the book include whether and how forensic music therapists can tailor their services to people with identified mental health problems and learning impairments; where therapy would be indicated; as well as how to develop music therapy treatments for the non-clinical populations found in prisons.

Music Therapy can help set appropriate boundaries, and provide possibilities for distance and thinking when words alone, particularly around the index offence, may be too painful or traumatic. This book, through its evidence-based approach explains how and when to use music therapy.

As the very first of its kind, and written by two leading practitioners of forensic music therapy, this book is essential reading for any music therapist and student of music therapy. It will also be of interest to other clinicians working in correctional or secure psychiatric settings and includes a chapter for them on how to use music effectively.

'Students, clinicians, and researchers will find this text progressive and applicable. The thoroughly tested treatment manuals for this traditionally underserved and marginalized clinical population constitute welcome additions to our profession. I offer a sincere thanks to these distinguished scholars for their remarkable and comprehensive contribution to the music therapy literature.'

Michael J. Silverman, PhD, MT-BC; Director of Music Therapy, University of Minnesota, USA

Author Biographies

Dr Stella Compton-Dickinson is a London-based Health and Care Profession council registered music therapist, accredited supervisor, professional oboist and lecturer, UK Council for Psychotherapy registered Cognitive Analytic Therapist and Supervisor. She has her own private practice and twenty years' experience in the National Health Service as a Clinician, Head of Arts Therapies and Clinical Research Lead her research was awarded the 2016 Ruskin Medal for the most impactful doctoral research. 

Dr Laurien Hakvoort is a Dutch senior registered music therapist and Neurologic Music Therapy fellow. She is a lecturer in music therapy of ArtEZ school of music and worked for 17 years in forensic psychiatry.

Editor’s Notes:

Dr Stella Compton-Dickinson is available for interview and articles. 
Pdf review copies are available. Please note we can only supply a hard copy of the book if a review is guaranteed. 
For media enquiries please contact Sophie or Chantal at Panpathic Communications –Sophie@panpathic.com  / 07815 860 082 or Chantal@panpathic.com  / 020 8544 0091

Bibliographic Data:

Price: £40.00

ISBN-13 9781849057103

Binding: Paperback

Size: 216mm x 279mm

Extent: 208 pages

Word Count: 69031 words

Illustrations: B&W Diagrams

Territorial Rights: World

Previous Titles: Edited by Stella Compton Dickinson, Helen Odell-Miller and John Adlam, ‘Forensic Music Therapy: A Treatment for Men and Women in Secure Hospital Settings’, Oct 2012 (978-1849052528) 


Published by Susan Van Baars on 10th May 2017


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