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F65 ‘It became difficult to communicate with him but music opened him up for us’ family music therapy for a patient with Huntington’s disease, a case description
  1. Marlies Brandt,
  2. Annemarie Helmers
  1. Atlant, Huntington Centre of Expertise, Apeldoorn, the Netherlands


Background In this case description we present a first experiment with Family Music Therapy (FMT). Up till now FMT is not a regular treatment in Atlant Care group.

Case history The patient, a young father who was diagnosed in 2006 at the age of 19 with Huntington’s Disease, has been living in our nursing home since August 2018. Shortly after admission individual music therapy started. Writing songs allowed the patient to express and share his emotions. During the sessions he wrote several songs for his wife and children. Performing these songs with the music therapist improved his mood and concentration. The idea arose the have his wife and children participate in the sessions. With family participation the patient may benefit even more from the music therapy. Furthermore the FMT sessions could also facilitate an environment for meaningful communication and sharing positive moments and emotions. In August 2019 these sessions of FMT started and took place once a month. FMT ended March 2020 due to Covid-19. After the series of FMT sessions the music therapist interviewed the wife and children. During the interviews they shared their positive feelings and thoughts they experienced during the FMT.

Conclusions FMT made it possible for the patient to share his emotions again without speaking. The family sessions facilitated the patient to pick up his father role towards his children. The children enjoyed seeing their father having a good time with them and their mother. They were really able to reconnect in a meaningful way.

  • Huntington
  • Family
  • Music Therapy
  • Quality of Life
  • Communication

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