I. WHAT IS MUSIC THERAPY
Music therapy is the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Music has non-verbal, creative, structural, and emotive qualities. These are used in the therapeutic relationship to facilitate contact, interaction, self-awareness, learning, self-expression, communication, and personal development (CAMT, 1994).
II. CATEGORIES OF MUSIC ACTIVITIES USED IN MUSIC THERAPY
- Listening and responding to music
- Playing and composing music
- Moving to music
- Music combined with other expressive arts
- Music for recreation and enjoyment
- Music and relaxation
III. WHAT IS MUSIC PSYCHOTHERAPY?
Music psychotherapy is the use of music in a psychotherapeutic relationship to achieve psychosocial and emotional outcomes, such as developing insight, self-expression, and self-esteem. Traditional psychotherapy may leave clients feeling stuck, because perhaps the level of expression or insight did not get deep enough, or all the time spent talking keeps the therapy and progress on a cognitive rather than somatic level. The music can provide opportunities for progress that are deeper, more creative, and more somatic. Music can also be a motivating factor, so that people who may not seek other psychotherapy modalities are more open to working and playing in music. (Yasmine Iliya, PhD, MT-BC, LCAT, FT)
IV. THREE TYPES OF GROUP MUSIC PSYCHOTHERAPY
1. Guided music listening and counseling
2. Therapeutic music improvisation
3. Music and Relaxation
V. WHO CAN BENEFIT
Everyone can benefit from Music Therapy because it is a powerful and non-threatening medium which promotes wellness, manages stress, alleviates pain, enhances memory, improves communication, increases motivation, provides emotional support for clients and their families, all while providing an outlet for expression of feelings.
This list includes some examples of medical conditions which can benefit from music therapy: Physical or Emotional Trauma, Traumatic Brain Injury, Mental Health Difficulties, Pain Management, Visual & Hearing, Speech & Language Impairments
VI. WHY IT WORKS?
There is scientific research to back up the idea that music has healing properties. A 2013 analysis by Daniel Levitin, a prominent psychologist who studies the neuroscience of music at McGill University in Montreal, and his colleagues highlighted a variety of evidence: for instance, one study showed music’s anti-anxiety properties, another found music was associated with higher levels of immunoglobin A, an antibody linked to immunity.
The brain’s reward center responds to music – a brain structure called the striatum releases the chemical dopamine, associated with pleasure. The dopamine rush could even be comparable to methamphetamines, Robert Zatorre, professor of neurology and neurosurgery at Montreal Neurological Institute, told CNN last year.
Beyond that, music presents a nonthreatening tool for interventions that is already attractive to patients, that why music really is universal, – Jantz said.
Music therapists often work nonverbally, which is why the method is particularly effective for individuals with verbal expression difficulties.
For individuals with autism in particular, music therapy has shown to be a positive reinforcement of appropriate behaviors and a motivator to reduce negative ones, according to the American Music Therapy Association. Music can also help with the development of language skills, and the identification and expression of emotions, which are characteristic challenges in autism. Some children with autism have superb musical abilities, and music therapy can help them focus on their strengths.
Alzheimer’s patients, who have memory and thinking impairment, may still recognize songs of their youth or respond emotionally to music. Music can also be used in elderly care settings to calm or stimulate residents.