Meaning, Recovery, and Psychotherapy in Light of the Art of Jazz

David Roe, Paul H. Lysaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Psychotherapy as a practice in the field of psychiatric rehabilitation is increasingly seen as a means to promote recovery from serious mental illness (SMI). While mostly informed by mental health theory and research, art might offer profound and enduring insights to inform psychotherapy with people with SMI. In this article, we argue that jazz, a form of art which entails both structure and improvising, may enrich and broaden clinicians’ abilities to facilitate meaning-making with clients to promote recovery. Method: Through the literature review and theoretical synthesis, we explore how jazz may be a space where specific processes can be observed and accordingly guide psychotherapy focused on subjective forms of recovery. Results: We argue that jazz offers a space to see how timing, risk-taking, the ability to be simultaneously inside and outside an activity, and support for the process of tension and release can inform and inspire the process of improvisation within psychotherapy. Conclusion and Implications for Practice: Jazz offers a creative framework which can help clinicians observe and facilitate recovery processes in psychotherapy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychiatric Rehabilitation Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. All rights reserved


  • Jazz
  • Psychosis
  • Psychotherapy
  • Recovery
  • Rehabilitation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Rehabilitation
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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