Music Therapy Connections
Music therapy is an evidence-based use of music by a licensed professional to help people feel better and work towards physical, mental, and cognitive goals. It encourages positive physiological behaviors like deep breathing, reduced heart rate, muscle relaxation – which can have positive effects on psychological well-being as well as supporting patients to self-manage pain or stress with greater assurance.
Music has long been associated with human life, and our earliest ancestors may have played and sang together. In ancient cultures, music was used for healing, prayer, and even sailing through stormy weather – something which continues to this day.
Music therapists today utilize the therapeutic power of music to assist children and adults cope with anxiety, depression, trauma, addiction, PTSD, grief, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD and other conditions. Furthermore, they assist individuals develop cognitive, motor, communication and social skills as part of a tailored program tailored to each individual’s individual needs.
The therapeutic relationship between a client and music therapist is paramount to the treatment process. The therapist creates an open, non-judgmental space where clients can process their feelings, express them, and explore them without judgement or condemnation.
In session, the therapist utilizes the patient’s interests and preferences to select suitable musical selections. These could be improvised, structured, or composed. Music helps stimulate brain activity while encouraging emotional expression.
Sessions can be tailored to a client’s individual or group needs and preferences, depending on their requirements and interests. Examples of session types include adaptive and therapeutic music lessons, music and expressive arts-based counseling, trauma-informed process work, addiction treatment, medical rehabilitation, personal fitness & wellness as well as Neurologic Music Therapy or NMT.
Music therapists typically employ their voice along with an assortment of instruments. Guitar and piano are two common choices, though other instruments may also be utilized. The guitar allows the music therapist to maintain melodic control while their client plays, while piano serves as a more steady background instrument that keeps the melody consistent.
For those with more complex learning disabilities, therapists might utilize methods such as Dalcroze Eurythmics. This technique focuses on rhythm, structure and movement and can be especially helpful for people with neurological or motor disabilities due to its increased physical awareness and ability to focus on rhythm and pattern recognition.
Many individuals with developmental disabilities find the process of creating music therapeutic. Not only does this give them a sense of accomplishment, but it also improves their memory, coordination and reading, writing and math abilities.
The music therapy process begins with an assessment and personalized plan. Your therapist will work alongside you to define goals within a supportive, realistic atmosphere.
During an assessment, the therapist will inquire about your listening skill and preferences. She may also probe into why you want to participate in music therapy; this helps them determine which type of treatment is most likely to be successful for you.
Music therapy is a rapidly-evolving field in the United States and has been proven effective with various conditions such as traumatic brain injury, autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder. Through music therapy you can learn new ways to relax and manage stress, reframe negative thoughts and feelings and boost your self-esteem.