Research Focus:
Clinical-differential music therapy

Clinical-differential music therapy takes the individuality of patients, fields of work and contexts, as well as the diversity of available reference theories and concepts into account. Based on a psychoanalytical and humanistic foundation, the methods and interventions of the Viennese school of music therapy are further developed and supplemented by application-specific relevant concepts. This is done by consciously analysing the theoretical influences and perspectives that guide music therapy activities within a therapeutic relationship. Depending on the specific clinical characteristics and requirements of evidence-based practice in clinical areas, specific components of music therapy are researched thereby contributing to music therapy theory development. In addition to process-orientated treatment procedures, music therapy diagnostic and assessment tools are developed and validated for use in practice and research. Mixed-method designs and interdisciplinary research approaches play a particularly significant role in this research focus.


The central topics of this research focus include:

  • Intersubjectivity and dialogue in music therapy improvisation
  • Differentiation between the various therapeutic planes in music therapy with a focus on the interactions between psychotherapeutic techniques and relationships in the therapy
  • the application of receptive methods and vibroacoustic therapy in music therapy for people with dementia
  • Ethical issues in music therapy
  • Historical perspectives and the development of music therapy and the Viennese School
  • Active components of music therapy

Current research projects

  • Music therapy for people with obsessive-compulsive disorder (practice research project)
  • Dialogue questionnaire (Dia-QNR) – a questionnaire supporting reflection on and assessing intra- and interpersonal processes in dyadic music therapy improvisation



Monika Smetana