Tuning Relationships with Music™: An intervention for parents with an interpersonal trauma history and their adolescents

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Vivienne M. Colegrove, PhD, Eltham Relationship Counselling, Sophie S. Havighurst, PhD, University of Melbourne, and Christiane E. Kehoe, PhD, University of Melbourne


Childhood interpersonal trauma has profound effects on future relationships, including parent-adolescent relationships. However, the effects of an interpersonal trauma history on parenting are not well understood or effectively addressed in existing evidence-based family and parent-child therapies. This paper describes a systemic intervention, entitled Tuning Relationships with Music™ (TRM), for parents with a history of childhood abuse or neglect and their adolescent who are experiencing high levels of conflict in their relationship. A previously published pilot randomised controlled trial of TRM found that parent-adolescent dyads who received the intervention reported significantly reduced conflict, and that parents were observed to be more responsive and less reactive compared with a wait-list group. Written for counsellors, psychotherapists and others working therapeutically with parents and adolescents, the current paper outlines the key principles and core tasks covered in TRM and describes what is covered in sessions. Considerations for therapists, and future directions for research are also discussed.


Keywords: interpersonal trauma, parent-adolescent relationships, systemic intervention, nonverbal communication, music


Address for correspondence:
Vivienne Colegrove
Email: vmcolegrove@icloud.com