DATE: Sunday, November 11, 2012
TIME: 12:00 p.m
PLACE: Studio, Lambert Road campus
CANDIDATE: Nicole Steinberger
DISSERTATION TITLE: "Music as Medicine: An Integrative Approach to Healing Among Lesbians Suffering from Discrimination Trauma"
PROGRAM-TRACK/YEAR: PhD-A; 2005
CHAIR: Dr. Christine Peterson
READER: Dr. Lisa Sloan
EXTERNAL READER: Dr. Lili Freitas
Steinberger, N. (2012). Music as Medicine: An Integrative Approach to Healing Among Lesbians Suffering from Discrimination Trauma (Doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, 2012)
From a social context, this unique research study was chosen with the intention of giving voice to an underserved and under-researched lesbian population experiencing insidious discrimination resulting in post-traumatic stress and debilitating symptoms. The key was to discover how this group of women was using music as a healing modality to decrease their symptoms and increase their overall well-being.
This study was created while moving through the lens of liberation psychology which attempts to examine and liberate people and communities living with social inequity resulting from institutionalized oppression. This legacy is carried out by continuing to target folks who are disadvantaged and marginalized at the hands of privileged groups in our society.
The method of critical hermeneutic participatory research served as the foundation for the structure of the study. This method supported a group research design which suggested we could learn from each other’s stories and experiences. This method considered each person a co-researcher and participant. This was intended to level the power imbalance often found in the researcher/participant model.
Trauma from discrimination was viewed from a feminist perspective which suggests that individuals having a lived experience are fully capable of naming their own struggle, including diagnoses such as trauma, post-trauma, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Music as medicine was explored as an integrative, holistic approach to healing. This did not center on any particular style of music but rather, followed the individual’s unique emotional connection to the type(s) of music that spoke to her.
Through a set of open-ended questions, the five women’s narratives were recorded and transformed into text which was then transcribed, evaluated for consistent and inter-related themes, and then further interpreted. The types of discrimination most noted in this study were sexism, homophobia, and classism. Symptoms of isolation, anxiety, depression, reduced self-esteem, and insomnia were common among the group. Music in its many forms was cited time and time again as an affective, accessible, and fully sustainable integrative treatment increasing overall health and well-being while diminishing painful, post-traumatic symptoms. Please note: All oral defense attendees must shuttle from the Best Western Hotel in Carpinteria.