Refugees have a variety of mental health needs due to their experiences, including trauma, anxiety, and depression. Psychotherapy, one of the main modalities for treatment, presents limitations including language barriers and negative stigmas. Music therapy might help to overcome these limitations due to its reliance upon music, rather than verbal language, as the therapeutic medium, and due to music’s ubiquitous cultural prevalence. Music therapy has been shown to have positive effects on sleep quality, well-being, trauma symptoms, social function, and mood. Music therapy training and research results have demonstrated ways to connect with clients through music and overcome cross-cultural barriers. The objective of this case study was to determine the effects of group music therapy on levels of anxiety, depression, well-being, functional disability, and distress in two adult Congolese refugees. Further, the study explored the themes which the participants reported they preferred and were most likely to use on their own regarding the music interventions. A mixed-methods approach was used to gather both quantitative and qualitative data. The study involved eight weekly, one hour-long music therapy sessions following a protocol that included four themes: socialization, emotional expression, English-learning, and personalized use of music. Levels of anxiety, depression, well-being, and functional disability were assessed using psychometric tests before the first session, after the fourth session, and after the eighth session. The data found overall decreased levels of anxiety, depression, and distress, increased levels of well-being, and little change in level of functional disability. Prevalent themes from the self-report questionnaire were instrument playing, singing, listening, and the hello song. Conclusions and recommendations for future research are included.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License