Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Piercarlo Valdesolo

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© 2015 Andrew P. Levihn-Coon


The widespread prevalence of depression throughout the world, across a variety of demographics, stresses the importance of examining different ways of coping with the affliction. This paper provides a background of different theories of coping with depression and it reviews how therapeutic songwriting, a form of active music therapy, can work as a highly effective method of coping with depression. The review indicates that therapeutic songwriting can be a successful coping mechanism through its positive influence as a primary and secondary control engagement coping strategy. Furthermore, songwriting acts as an adaptive distractor and emotion regulator, and has a positive impact on self-esteem and subsequently self-compassion. Additional benefits of therapeutic songwriting are discussed such as its time effectiveness and its ability to act as a therapy motivator and a psychoeducational tool. The findings indicate a need for future research to examine original therapeutic songwriting, in which the therapy-participant creates both original music and lyrics with the guidance of the therapist, as a potentially successful treatment for depression.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.