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Musical Notes with Melissa: Group vs. One-on-One Therapy

Melissa Pate

For many of our Woodlands and Groves residents, the most common goal is increasing meaningful social engagement. One of the questions I am most commonly asked when talking with families is, “What would be better for my loved one – group or individual music therapy?” The expected answer to this would be group music therapy, right? There are, however, instances in which a group would not be the most appropriate fit for a resident who needs more social interaction. Some questions I ask when assessing a resident:

1. How does the resident’s body language appear in groups vs. one-on-one?
2. Is the resident more conversational in groups or one-on-one?
3. Will the resident leave their room to join an activity if prompted?

What I often find is that starting with an individual session allows our therapists to build rapport and establish trust with the resident, while also giving them an opportunity to interact on their terms. Once that comfortability is reached, they are typically more willing to join us in group music therapy. Our hope is that once they are consistently joining group music therapy, there will be more willingness to join other activities, as well. For questions about our group programming, please reach out to Melissa Pate at