Group music therapy with uprooted teenagers: The Importance of structure

Chava Wiess, Moshe Bensimon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: The uprooting from the Gush Katif settlements in the Gaza Strip as part of Israel’s disengagement in 2005 was a traumatic experience for the people who had lived there and lost their homes. To date, very few clinical reports and research studies have been found to focus on group music therapy with uprooted adolescents. Therefore, the goal of this study is to broaden the clinical and theoretical understanding of this topic. Method: The study used a mixed methods approach to examine the efficacy of a short-term group music therapy given to a group of six teenagers a year and a half after being uprooted from Gush-Katif. Findings: Three themes were found. The first theme describes the effect of the disengagement on the teenagers regarding their faith in God, their relationship with their parents, and their attitude towards society and government. The second theme reflects how group music therapy enabled the participants to confront the pain of uprooting from within a safe place. This was facilitated through structured musical activities that were repeated during all sessions. The last theme describes the contribution of the therapy program to reconnecting to faith, boosting strength and hope, improving emotional state, and recognizing the importance of interpersonal relationships as a means for coping with trauma. Discussion: The therapeutic value of rituals explains the importance of structured group music therapy in a short-term program for uprooted traumatized adolescents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)174-189
Number of pages16
JournalNordic Journal of Music Therapy
Issue number2
StatePublished - 14 Mar 2020


  • Uprooting
  • adolescents
  • group music therapy
  • mixed methods
  • therapeutic rituals
  • trauma

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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