What is a Music Therapy Group?
Music therapy groups are informal gatherings of individuals led by a professional therapist to explore their emotions through music. It has the potential to benefit individuals of all ages with various issues, including mental health problems and physical disability.
Music therapy groups can be extremely beneficial to participants, helping them develop empathy, enhance communication, boost self-confidence and reduce loneliness or isolation. Furthermore, they help participants deal with difficult emotions while teaching them new skills such as singing or dancing.
It is essential to note that music therapy groups can either be one-on-one or group settings where members from a given family or social circle can join. In the latter case, the therapist typically takes turns leading the session and other members may be asked for assistance with certain activities.
When groups work together, it is essential that everyone in the group feels a sense of ownership. This way, everyone will value their creation and want to show it off.
This process may take some time, as it depends on each participant’s individual needs. Some may feel more at ease improvising with their instruments or vocally while others would rather play along with the music and follow a pattern.
When practicing improvisations, the therapist should pay careful attention to the client’s expression and respond appropriately. This includes paying attention to pulse, meter, rhythmic patterns, phrase ends and other musical elements. Doing so demonstrates active listening as well as commitment to the therapist which in turn builds trust between both parties.
Music therapy groups can be highly effective in treating a range of issues, from social anxiety to grief. They help individuals overcome barriers to social interaction and develop skills such as expressing their emotions and maintaining eye contact.
It can also assist people with learning disabilities, autism, dementia, mental health problems and physical illness. Furthermore, it has proven successful when working with couples to promote communication, reduce stress and build bonds between individuals or groups.
The therapist can either provide the music and lead sessions, or allow their clients to create their own. It is often customary for them to ask questions and listen carefully to what their clients express through song in order to gain insight into their feelings.
Another option is using songwriting as a vehicle to express the client’s emotions. This could be done through either creating a lyric sheet or having the words written out directly.
Some of the most powerful songs carry a positive message about self-worth and reaching one’s goals. These types of melodies can be tailored into rhyming phrases and lyrics to perfectly capture an individual’s experience.
Music therapists can assist people in challenging negative self-talk, such as “I can’t do it” or “I am not good enough”. These messages can be rewritten into more empowering statements that reflect the person’s values and goals.