Effects of Art and Music Therapy on Depression
Finding solace in the creation of art or music can be a powerful way to release feelings and lift spirits, making it an ideal therapy for those suffering from anxiety or depression. Creative therapies also enable those who have experienced traumatic events to process their emotions more openly and create something useful from themselves.
Music and art can be powerful medicines for the mind, soothing neural activity and releasing de-stressing chemicals like dopamine. According to Linda Davenport, a licensed clinical psychologist in Portland, Oregon, they provide people with an outlet to express themselves verbally without feeling judged or embarrassed, according to research findings.
Art and music therapy have a range of effects on depression, but generally include improved moods, increased self-esteem, better communication skills, greater assurance, and enhanced creativity. Furthermore, the therapist and client may collaborate to create an action plan to address specific problems in the client’s life.
Research has demonstrated that including both art and music in a treatment session for depression can have positive effects on patients (Maratos et al., 2008). One study of people with major depression found evidence to support this claim; music led to an improvement in symptoms (Maratos et al., 2009).
Researchers have investigated the therapeutic effects of music on various conditions, such as stress, depression, pain and sleep. They’ve discovered that music can reduce feelings of stress and anxiety, improve focus and cognitive function.
Music therapy is an individual or group process, where the therapist guides their client through listening, playing music, singing and discussing images or ideas. Some forms involve improvisation while others adhere strictly to a predetermined structure.
Receptive music therapy is a type of guided imagery that uses pre-designed songs to guide clients into an altered state of consciousness. Studies have demonstrated its effectiveness in treating anxiety, stress, and trauma (Hammer 1996; McKinney et al., 1997; McKinney and Honig, 2017).
People suffering from PTSD find therapy especially helpful as it creates a safe space to express their emotions and experiences in an accepting atmosphere. Furthermore, clients are given the chance to rewrite their own narratives of trauma experienced, leading to greater healing processes.
This type of therapy is often combined with other types, such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Both techniques help clients cope with their trauma and move forward in life more confidently.
Music has long been used as a healing force, yet it wasn’t until the last century that science began exploring its potential in mental health treatment. Certain musical scales and modes have long been known to reduce anxiety and stress (Greenberg, 2017).