International Journal of Transpersonal Studies


This qualitative heuristic study explored the subjective experience of transformation resulting from the practice of songwriting in nonclinical populations, through semistructured interviews with 12 songwriters, 6 men and 6 women, aged 35-69. Thematic content analysis yielded 6 top-level themes: Connecting, Communicating, Wellbeing, Affirmation, Personal Growth, and Making A Difference. Subthemes of Connecting reflect a wide variety of transpersonal experiences. The Communicating subthemes capture ways in which songwriting afforded participants a language superior to speech for Expressing Feelings, Sharing Self, and Sending A Message. Participants reported Personal Growth, expressed through subthemes Processing Experience (making meaning of painful material) and Empowerment. Learning explicitly that one of their songs had had a significant impact on a listener was the mostly strongly articulated transformative experience for participants, described in Making A Difference. The findings support models of transformation in the expressive arts literature; through transpersonal encounters in liminality, both songwriter and listeners are transformed.