OPEN Research Support

Torben Moe
Clinic for Traumatised Refugees

Projekt styring
Projekt status    Sampling ongoing
Data indsamlingsdatoer
Start 01.05.2016  
Slut 01.12.2019  

Music therapy versus treatment as usual for refugees diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Short summary

In the study we compare standard psychological verbal treatment to a specialized method of music and imagery, that we believe is helpful to process traumatic memories and improve coping strategies for traumatized refugees. The study is in the forefront on several parameters: it is the first RCT on music therapy treatment of adult refugees, it is investigating attachment style which appeared in 2016 to be impaired in refugees, and it explores molecular data (salivary oxytocin) as outcome measure.


Background: Meta-analyses of studies on psychological treatment of refugees describe highly varying outcomes, and research on multi-facetted and personalized treatment of refugees with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is needed. Music therapy has been found to affect arousal regulation and emotional processing, and a pilot study on the music therapy method Traumafocused Music and Imagery (TrMI) with traumatized refugees resulted in significant changes of trauma symptoms, well-being and sleep quality. The aim of the trial is to test the efficacy of TMI compared to verbal psychotherapy

Methods: A randomized controlled study

Description of the cohort

A randomized controlled study with a non-inferiority design is carried out in three locations of a regional outpatient psychiatric clinic for refugees. 74 Arabic, English or Danish speaking adult refugees (18-67 years) diagnosed with PTSD are randomized to 16 sessions of either music therapy or verbal therapy (standard treatment). All participants are offered medical treatment, psychoeducation by nurses, physiotherapy or body therapy and social counseling as needed.

Data and biological material

Outcome measures are performed at baseline, post therapy and at six months follow-up. A blind assessor measures outcomes post treatment and at follow up. Questionnaires measuring trauma symptoms (HTQ), quality of life (WHO-5), dissociative symptoms (SDQ-20, DSS-20), and adult attachment (RAAS) are applied, as well as physiological measures (salivary oxytocin, betaendorphin)

Collaborating researchers and departments

Psykiatrien Region Sjælland:

  • Forskningsleder, Professor Erik Simonsen
  • Seniorforsker, lektor Ulf Søgaard
Psykiatrien Vest:
  • Professor Sidse Arnfred