Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Work

Document Type



In this study, music and poetry were combined to form a client-centered therapeutic approach to group psychotherapy with at-risk youth that encourages connection, communication, and self-expression. This specialized poetry therapy intervention utilizes popular music and creative writing activities to facilitate group discussion about feelings, life experiences, goals, and values. The purpose of this research was to examine the impact of such an intervention on group formation and development, with a specific focus on the development of factors, such as self-disclosure, which contribute to therapeutic change over the course of the intervention. A multiple embedded case study approach was utilized to collect qualitative and quantitative data from multiple data sources. Data was collected via videotaped observation of group sessions, the administration of the Most Important Event questionnaire, document collection, and the administration of the modified Therapeutic Factors Inventory-S. The findings of this research indicate that several factors, including group composition, the activities engaged in during group sessions, and the internalizing or externalizing behavior profiles of group members, influenced the development of self-disclosure in these poetry therapy groups. Additional findings indicate that when all three of the cases are looked at as a whole, self-disclosure is the most frequently referenced factor when the direct responses of group members as collected via the Most Important Event questionnaire are analyzed. However, the results are less clear when the results of the modified Therapeutic Factors Inventory-S were included; these modified TFI-S results varied according to the group from which the data was obtained. The most meaningful finding of this research was that this poetry therapy intervention had a striking impact on engagement and self-disclosure among these three groups of at-risk youth. The evidence gathered via this research indicates that this intervention fostered a group environment in which guarded, difficult to engage at-risk adolescents felt comfortable and connected enough to engage in surprisingly honest and bold self-disclosure.



Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Page, Timothy



Included in

Social Work Commons