Emotion Regulation (ER) development occurs in early childhood. Music therapists encounter many clinical populations who experience barriers to healthy ER development for a variety of reasons. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, our music therapy colleague Dr. Kimberly Sena Moore reports results from a mixed methods feasibility study exploring the impact of a music‐based intervention on ER development. She discusses the implications of the research findings in relation to how they influence clinical music therapy practice and future research.

Can Music Support Emotion Regulation Development?

AMTA-Pro Podcast + September, 2016

Kimberly Sena Moore, PhD, MT-BC

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Emotion regulation (ER) is the ability for a person to maintain a comfortable state of arousal by controlling and shifting his or her emotional experiences and expressions. The emergence of maladaptive ER occurs in childhood and is one characteristic often shared by several disorders. Maladaptive ER can significantly affect multiple areas in child development, such as the ability to learn in school, form and maintain healthy relationships with peers and adults, and manage and inhibit behavioral responses.

Interventions for children at-risk for developing maladaptive ER skills are limited and need further exploration. Based on limitations noted in existing treatment options, a Musical Contour Regulation Facilitation (MCRF) intervention was developed to improve ER abilities in preschool-aged children by providing opportunities to practice real-time management of high and low arousal experiences. Furthermore, an embedded convergent mixed methods research design was used to explore the feasibility of the MCRF intervention. Implications of research findings are explored in relation to how they influence clinical music therapy practice and future research.


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Sena Moore, K. (2015). Musical Contour Regulation Facilitation (MCRF) to support emotion regulation development in preschoolers: A mixed methods feasibility study (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Missouri-Kansas City, Kansas City, MO.

Sena Moore, K. & Hanson-Abromeit, D. (2015). Theory-guided Therapeutic Function of Music to facilitate emotion regulation development in preschool-aged children. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 9, 572. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2015.00572.

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ksm-headshot_square-1024x1024About the Speaker. Kimberly Sena Moore, Ph.D., MT-BC joined the Frost School of Music faculty at the University of Miami in Fall 2014. She serves as Regulatory Affairs Associate for the Certification Board for Music Therapists, where she is involved in state-level legislative and policy issues affecting music therapy practice. Kimberly’s research interests center on music therapy and emotion regulation development. She co-hosts the Music Therapy Round Table podcast, and blogs at “Your Musical Self” for Psychology Today and Music Therapy Maven.