Why Music Therapy Should Not Be Used For Mental Health
Music has long been used as a therapeutic tool to help people cope with mental health conditions. Not only that, but it’s also highly effective at teaching children and adults new skills as well.
Music therapy offers many benefits to patients, but in order for them to reap the full benefit of this type of therapy they must feel comfortable with their therapist, be able to participate in sessions and express their emotions openly, and have an appreciation for music itself. While finding a therapist who will work well with you may prove challenging at first glance, finding one who will make things easier is possible.
If a client is reluctant to join sessions, the therapist can suggest listening to different pieces of music or playing their own compositions and rating their listening skills accordingly. If the client feels connected to the music, they may even share their feelings with the therapist.
Music therapists must create a safe and relaxing atmosphere during sessions. This can be accomplished by setting up a quiet room, using headphones, or playing soft, soothing music.
Music therapists must always be able to detect when a client is feeling unsafe in the session. This can be done by listening intently to verbalizations and behaviors as well as observing clinical materials (e.g., composed lyrics, drawings).
For instance, if a client is reluctant to discuss past trauma or negative experiences, the therapist can encourage them to sing or play a song that captures this feeling. They could also use their own songs and dances in order to foster an expressive environment for the client.
This process can be especially helpful for clients who struggle to express their emotions or are shy when writing or singing in public. Additionally, it may benefit those with hearing issues or memory problems.
Music therapists are further educated in the theory and practice of multicultural counseling, which requires them to comprehend culturally pertinent techniques for designing therapy sessions that take into account clients’ worldviews and values.
They must be aware that their own personal and professional prejudices can impact their therapeutic relationships. These prejudices could prove detrimental to the overall outcome of therapy and lead to negative outcomes for clients.
It is essential for music therapists to monitor their own reactions during sessions and pay attention to any signs that they may be feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope with the client’s feelings. Doing this allows them to prepare appropriately and minimize any potential harm that might take place during the encounter.
The Model Therapy Habit Model (MTHM) identifies six potential sources of harm within a session that clinicians should be aware of and be able to recognize when they occur. While it’s highly unlikely all six will arise simultaneously, if one component breaks down during your visit, that could be an indication to look for all four potential sources simultaneously.