A-Z List


Antisocial Behavior

General Goals and Treatment Methods



Goals and Methodologies

Problem areas:

  1. An inability to learn which cannot be explained by intellectual, sensory, or health factors
  2. An inability to build or maintain satisfactory interpersonal relationships with peers and teachers
  3. Inappropriate behaviors or feelings under normal circumstances
  4. A general pervasive mood of unhappiness or depression
  5. A tendency to develop physical symptoms or fears associated with personal or school problems

Antisocial behavior:

  • Unable to keep a job
  • Irresponsible as a spouse and parent
  • Assault or otherwise criminal behavior
  • Little regret over violating others’ rights

Music therapy goals for targeting these problem areas:

  1. Develop the ability to identify emotions
  2. Develop healthy outlet for emotional expression
  3. Develop socialization skills  (impulse control, turn taking, sharing, ability to delay ratification)
  4. Decrease self-centeredness
  5. Develop empathy for others.
  6. Develop interest in others
  7. Break patient’s blocking behavior and isolation to outside world
  8. Increase attending to task behavior
  9. Increase interpersonal contact and interaction
  10. Combat the impulsive behavior that is used to seek immediate stimulation and gratification

Music Therapy methods used for treatment

Have child choose percussion instruments placed on a table by touching and playing them. Communication can be achieved with the patient through the improvisational use of the different sounds and the music that is created.

Guitar lessons may be provided on a one to one basis, which would increase attending to task behavior. An action song with movements that must be performed together in a group without hitting other members of the group may be used.

Use song writing to elicit individual expression of feelings among peers. Simple guitar/piano playing in front of the group can be used. One on one-guitar lessons can be used as a reward for good behavior at home and in the classroom.

Beating a drum with others in a group to make a song may help develop focus on motor skills and social skills.

Use any musical activities that: contain interpersonal contact and interaction, require social skills and listening skills, require fitting in to group situations, and relieve feelings of isolation and provide normal social experiences. Examples: Sing Alongs, songs that require some movement among the group, and songs that tell how the patients are feeling on a specific day.

Use fill-in-the-blank song writing, dance and art to express feelings of the day and to increase social interaction with the other members of the group.

Have patient play tone chimes or handbells only at certain times and on cue.

Have open and reasoned discussions of the lyrics of music selected for the individuals labeled as anti-social.

Have children who are deaf play autoharps in a group and feel the vibrations they create. Use listening and singing time for hearing children. Allow different children to help set up and turn on music each time.

Use fill in the blank songs to express feelings that the members in the group have toward each other. Have members of the group write their own songs and share them with the group.

Use lyric analysis to contrast anti-social behavior.

Use song writing to develop problem solving skills and learn alternatives to anti-social behavior.

Give guitar lessons or piano lessons contingent upon the client giving a salutation to the therapist or others participating. Gradually build up to using a conversation. Use any type of music situation as a reward for participation in the school atmosphere as the contingency for continuation of the session.

Have patients learn I and V chord sounds on a keyboard. Associate a five chord with shaking the person’s hand next to you. Associate a one chord with having the person sit down. Each time change the cue for association to a different action paired with a specific chord.