What is Music Therapy?

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This is a very common question that all music therapists are accustomed to answering. Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. In appearance, it will most likely contrast with the dusty image of a person reclining on a couch being psychoanalyzed by a bespectacled professor-type. Yet it shares an investment in the minds of participants, seeking to improve their lives through greater expression and self-knowledge. Being musically talented is not (!) a prerequisite for music therapy, just experience with the immense depth of feeling that music provides.

It is an effective form of treatment for:

  • Depression

  • Anxiety

  • Stress

  • Trauma

  • Bipolar Disorder

  • Schizophrenia

  • Cognitive and Developmental Delays

  • Substance Abuse

  • Dementia

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What are the Benefits?

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Physical: Through physical activities such as drumming, strumming, or dancing, Music Therapy can help to activate and engage the body, gently exercising and expanding previously limited range of movement. 

 

Emotional: Music is one of the most emotionally universal modes of communication available to humans. In therapy, it provides a vessel for emotional exploration, and a safe framework to soothe deeply felt trauma.

 

Cognitive: Music is known to directly activate parts of the brain that are difficult to access by any other means. For those facing neurocognitive issues, music provides a mode of communication that may otherwise be severely limited.

 

Social: Unless you're a virtuoso soloist (and who is?), music is most likely a social activity. We play music together. Music Therapy is a great way to explore the ways in which we relate to others, as the therapeutic relationship is also a creative collaboration.

For more general information about Music Therapy, visit the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) website:

musictherapy.org