Ep. 88: It Hurts So Good: When and why is sad music enjoyed? With Kimberly Sena Moore, PhD, MT-BC

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels


March 30, 2021

The phrase, “It hurts so good” perfectly describes that experience of music perpetuating our negative emotions while somehow making us feel better at the same time. We untangle some of the different factors and threads that are at play in this paradox.

Kimberly Sena Moore, Ph.D., MT-BC


Dr. Kimberly Sena Moore is a board certified music therapist whose research focuses on emotion regulation development. She is on the music therapy faculty at the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music. In this role, she oversees the clinical training for all undergraduate and graduate music therapy students, teaches courses, and supervises graduate student research. Dr. Sena Moore has presented extensively at regional, national, and international conferences. Her research has been published in scholarly journals including the Journal of Music Therapy, and Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. Her research has also been featured in media outlets including Psychology Today, Redbook, and CURE.


  • We discuss neurochemical factors, including dopamine; depressive realism; research trends; and adolescents’ use of music in mood regulation. 

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In-Episode Promo

If you’re a regular listener of this show, you’ve probably heard me talk about my Rolflex Pro. It played a significant role in healing my repetitive use injuries; and I have continued to use it every day for years, both to prevent injuries – and because it feels so good! The Rolflex Pro is a foam roller tool with clam-shaped arms that provide leverage to adjust the pressure to whatever you like or can tolerate. I use it mainly on my arms and neck/shoulder area; but it can be used on any body part because of how it’s designed. I highly recommend it. As I mentioned, I’ve been using the Rolflex daily for years, and recently signed up as an affiliate; so you can help support the show – at no extra cost to you – by purchasing through this link. The Rolflex is eligible for reimbursement from Flexible Spending Accounts and HSAs; it’s also eligible for medical insurance reimbursement in certain situations. More information is on the Rolflex website.


In lieu of a traditional holiday card, Kimberly’s family creates a holiday music video card. What started in 2009 has become an annual tradition! Here is a link to the playlist. Kimberly shares a bit of the music from the family’s most recent card. (Kimberly says: “I accidentally deleted 8 years’ worth four cards on YouTube! Thankfully I still have the video files, so reuploaded all of them.”)

Closing Words

Thanks so much to both of our guests today, Kimberly and Angie.

I would love to hear your examples of how music has enhanced your life. You can connect with me on email, social media, or my website.  Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next week, may your life be enhanced with music.


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5 responses to “Ep. 88: It Hurts So Good: When and why is sad music enjoyed? With Kimberly Sena Moore, PhD, MT-BC”

  1. Very informative & enjoyable, as always! The bonus of hearing Angie’s story was inspiring.