Original Research

Exploring a narrative approach through music as a pastoral care means to human flourishing

Juanita Meyer, Hané Fourie
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 40, No 1 | a1919 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v40i1.1919 | © 2019 Juanita Meyer, Hané Fourie | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 July 2018 | Published: 06 May 2019

About the author(s)

Juanita Meyer, Department of Practical and Missional Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Hané Fourie, Department of Practical and Missional Theology, Faculty of Theology and Religion, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa

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This article views Christian salvation through the lens of human flourishing and explores the unique ways in which music therapy – as a narrative approach to therapy – can assist society through the empowerment of the individual, to share in the kingdom of God, by actively participating in activities that will enhance people’s sense of well-being and flourishing. Flourishing is not limited to the individual as an individual is formed and influenced by his or her community, society and related sociopolitical culture. To flourish is to restore the relationships between the self, others and God. To flourish is to have hope. This article aims to illustrate that the narrative approach to therapy can play a positive role in restoring relationships and creating hope. Similarly, this article argues for the ability of music (through narrative-music therapy) to lift people out of their problem-saturated narratives and assist them to create alternative narratives. Music is thus seen as a powerful tool that can be used as a method in the narrative approach to help individuals flourish in their current situations.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: This study is written primarily from a pastoral and practical theological perspective but engages on a secondary level with a narrative approach to research and therapy, which is a product of the theory of social constructionism. Social constructionism finds its home in the social sciences. From this engagement, practical theology and the narrative approach engage in a specific manner in dialoguing with the theories related to the study of music and its therapeutic benefits. The possible impact of this inter- and multidisciplinary engagement is the development of a specific kind of pastoral, music narrative therapeutic approach that provides possibilities of spiritual growth and healing to the seekers thereof.


narrative; music therapy; pastoral care and counselling; life-giving or life-limiting theologies; narrative conversation


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