Types of Music Therapy
Music therapy is an effective treatment for stress, anxiety, depression and other mood disorders. It also helps improve cognitive function and foster interpersonal relationships. It can be utilized with children and adults of all ages and backgrounds, with applications to treat various health conditions and injuries.
Music therapy techniques and methods can be tailored to each client’s individual needs, from listening to music and guided visualization to relaxation, improvisation, and composition.
Facilitated Music Listening – Facilitated music listening is the most common technique used in music therapy, wherein a client is provided with either prerecorded or live music and guided through it by the therapist. They may adjust volume, tempo, repeat a line from the song, or even alter its words to meet their individual needs.
Some facilitated music listening sessions employ the use of various instruments. For instance, the therapist can use a drum to allow clients to express their musical rhythms and emotions without fear of making an error on the instrument. Another popular choice among therapists is using the ukulele, which is child-friendly and easy to play.
The therapist can facilitate music listening with guitar, keyboard or piano; however it may be more challenging for patients to move their arms and legs during these sessions. Furthermore, they should be attentive to their client’s reaction when listening to the music so they can respond appropriately.
Lyric Analysis & Writing – The therapist uses a lyric analysis tool to detect lyrics that reflect the client’s experience, thoughts and feelings. They can then discuss these lyrics with the client in order for them to comprehend how they apply to their situation and work through any repressed emotional or mental states.
Songwriting – The therapist may encourage the client to compose their own personalized songs with lyrics and melodies that are meaningful for them. This provides an outlet for processing emotions on a personal level which they may not otherwise be able to do, which can then be shared with friends and family members.
Patients who feel overwhelmed and unable to express their emotions through other methods such as speaking may benefit from this option. Furthermore, people who have had traumatic events or are dealing with chronic disease will find this outlet for self-expression beneficial, providing a secure outlet that they feel comfortable and secure using.
Beyond sharing their music with others, many patients find creating a personal song to be highly rewarding and motivating in itself. It can be an effective means for them to work through issues, develop new coping techniques, or even recall positive memories from past experiences.
Music therapy, whether provided in a hospital or private practice setting, has proven to be an invaluable and successful form of treatment for patients with medical and emotional issues. The therapeutic power of music to connect people and reduce stress is well known and respected; however, with the advent of an evidence-based healthcare system, quality research into this field is needed in order to convince commissioners and funders that music therapy offers value for money investments that can improve clients’ lives.