Birgit Sebreghts, PhD in the Arts

Adults with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are often not understood in their idiosyncratic style of processing information and their impairments. This has major consequences for the development of an identity or the development of positive relationships. Growing scientific knowledge about ASD emphasizes the importance of therapeutic attunements on a bodily-affective level, such as through musical interventions. Studies show that fostering creative capacity in adults with ASD enhances
intuitive and adaptive skills. Furthermore, studies in children with ASD show that musical improvisation in a therapeutic relationship facilitates the development of social reciprocity.
With this music therapeutic research we aim to refine the knowledge about the way in which musical improvisation in the therapeutic relationship fosters creative capacity in adults with ASD and try to comprehend the impact of group improvisations and the integration of poetry and musical experience.
A new model of treatment can be developed with musical interventions, and art-based interventions in general, as a unique and necessary framework for facilitating bodilyaffective processes in a therapeutic relationship. Moreover, musical improvisations can be a source of and a bridge for dialogue; to sensitize a hyper-connected society for silent creations and slow development processes.


  • Prof. dr. Jos De Backer (corresponding supervisor, KU Leuven/LUCA)
  • Prof. dr. Katrien Foubert (supervisor, KU Leuven/LUCA)

Research unit: Music & Drama

Duration: 2021 - 2025