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Theories of Music Therapy

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Theories of Music Therapy

Music therapy has been used for millennia to enhance health outcomes and is still highly effective today. Despite its many advantages, theories surrounding this form of therapy have not been thoroughly researched; therefore, further investigation is necessary in order to gain a comprehensive understanding of how and why it works.

Music therapy requires an intimate knowledge of both how the human ear works and how the brain processes sound waves. This understanding is crucial for music therapists as it allows them to identify their clients’ musical preferences and goals for treatment.

Medical professionals frequently utilize music to aid patients recover from physical illnesses and injuries. It may also promote relaxation and reduce stress levels, making it useful in treating various disorders like anxiety or depression.

Music therapy utilizes a variety of genres, such as classical, country, jazz and pop. To provide the most beneficial outcome for each client, a music therapist must assess their individual needs and craft an individualized plan that meets those objectives.

Many theories have been developed to explain the psychological and physiological responses to music. Some focus on how it affects mood, such as Good’s (1998) theory of pain: balancing analgesia with side effects or IMIA’s (Gerdner 1997) individualized music intervention for agitation.

Others research specific brain areas affected by music, such as motor movement and coordination, emotional regulation, language production and executive functioning, auditory processing, learning and memory consolidation, and state regulation.

Other theories investigate how music affects focus, a common issue for those suffering from mental health issues. These include meditative music, cognitive behavioral therapy and guided imagery.

Music therapists have been licensed in the United States since 1789, with the American Music Therapy Association being its largest professional association.

Music therapy is a type of psychotherapy that uses music to help heal and enhance people’s lives. It utilizes two primary approaches: receptive and active.

Receptive methods usually involve listening to a recorded track or audio clip. These recordings can be played on computers or smartphones by the music therapist, or directly listened to by the patient.

Active methods often involve playing instruments and singing. These activities can help someone develop their instrument-playing or singing abilities, ultimately increasing their quality of life.

It is essential to recognize that each individual has their own musical tastes and preferences. Therefore, it’s crucial to pay close attention to what the client prefers before making any decisions regarding their music choice.

According to the Parse Research Method, music can serve as an auditory distraction and provide relaxation for patients with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia-related illnesses (Jonas-Simpson 1997). It also provides some people with a sense of security, possibly helping reduce agitation among elderly individuals.

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