DOI: 10.1093/mtp/miad027 ISSN: 0734-6875

Music Therapy in Shelters for People Who Are Unhoused: A Scoping Review

Dianne Gregory, Flor Hernandez, Christopher Beach
  • Complementary and alternative medicine
  • Music
  • Applied Psychology


A scoping review of publications pertaining to music therapy interventions with people who are unhoused and living in shelters was implemented to determine if the available evidence supports professional advocacy and program development with this underserved population at the present time. Searches using EBSCOHost, PsycINFO, ProQuest, and search engines for music therapy journals resulted in 294 publications. Specification of inclusion criteria (population-context-concept) resulted in 13 articles for review to determine the types of evidence, key characteristics of participants and interventions, and gaps and limitations in the literature. An overview of therapists’ descriptions of their sessions’ goals, interventions, and recommendations, combined with information from shelter staff and former participants, provides practical information for interventions and future research. However, the diversity within the small collection of articles prevents generalizations and provides only a glance at possibilities, not a foundation, for professional advocacy and program development.

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