Holistic aspects of rehabilitation post cardiac surgery in the Bonny method of guided imagery and music

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This thesis has set out to investigate the role of music therapy in the form of the specialist Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) with a view to exploring how meanings related to adjustment from a health crisis (such as cardiac surgery) are depicted in music-supported imagery. Factors shaping clinical interpretations of verbal and musical responses in music therapy practice are often unclear or undelineated. A systematic interpretive process relevant to clinical health care was developed using the Bonny Method of Guide Imagery and Music (GIM), providing a means for exploring the emotional difficulties of coronary bypass patients, who typically recover quickly from physical surgery but often experience residual symptoms such as depression, pain, and anxiety. The interpretive process accessed both verbal and non-verbal texts, playing them against each other in order to find significance for music therapy practice in rehabilitation. A Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) series was undertaken by patients recovering from coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG), with each session audiotaped and transcribed. This narrative data was analyzed thematically, and grand themes were used to focus further intertextual (semiotic) and Jungian perspectives, in the process of deriving substantial clinical meanings. Results suggested that participants used a wide range of personal, cultural and archetypal texts to convey meanings about their health care situation, including images of the music during the therapeutic process. Clinical change in the rehabilitative process was suggested by grand themes comprising 'Looking through the frame', 'Feeling the impact', 'Spiralling into the unexpected', 'Sublime plateau', and 'Rehearsing new steps' and the further music-related grand theme of 'Sounding the changes'. This project highlights the value of GIM as a vehicle to track clinical change with cardiac patients, based on a systematic interpretive process sensitive to the interweaving verbal and nonverbal texts evident in the music therapy context.
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