Music Therapy: What Is It and How Does It Work?

What is music therapy?

Music therapy (also known as sound therapy) is a support for therapy in clinic settings. It’s quite a lot to say, so let’s get it down.

The therapist guides and assists the patient during the therapeutic process to achieve positive psychological (mental) and physiological (physical) outcomes.

Professionals treat patients in a clinical setting for certain psychological or physiological conditions. The treatment is usually done in a hospital or clinic and takes place over time in one-on-one sessions.

What is music therapy?

Music therapy promotes positive physiological behavior. In guided meditation exercises, patients may be asked to control their breathing. This can lower blood pressure and promote relaxation. These physical results can have a positive impact on psychological well-being, and help the patient manage stress or pain more confidently.

Positive physiological behavior provides a solid foundation for controlling and managing emotional and intellectual problems. Patients who have difficulty focusing or expressing emotions can benefit from asking patients to listen to music and to describe their emotional reactions.

Here are some examples of music therapy activities

Active listening The therapist plays a piece or song to a patient, and encourages them to discuss their feelings or the song’s significance.

Performance
The therapist might play an instrument, sing a song, and encourage the patient or family member to sing along with it.

Writing lyrics and songs
A therapist might work with the patient in order to create music or lyrics that reflect a significant time in their lives.

Dance and movement
The therapist might play an instrument or piece of music, and encourage the patient’s body to move in tune with the music.

Relaxation
The therapist can play an instrument or sing a song to help the patient relax and achieve a more peaceful state.

Music therapy has many health benefits

Music therapy is based on one of the most basic human traits, the enjoyment and ability to take part in musical endeavors. Music therapy can help people move, listen to music, feel emotions, relax, and manage pain.

Although scientific studies have confirmed the benefits of music therapy for adults, there are still many newer techniques and practices that can be used to treat music disorders.

Music therapy has been shown to have health benefits

Music therapy has many health benefits. These positive health outcomes include:

Medical outcomes

  • Stress reduction
  • Pain management
  • Management of mood and emotions
  • Social engagement
  • Support for the family

Rehabilitation results

  • Development of fine and gross motor skills
  • Language skills
  • Cognitive functions

Psychological outcomes

  • Expression/Personal insight
  • Management of mood and emotions
  • Social engagement
  • Cognitive functions
  • Stress reduction

Neonatal outcomes

  • Stress reduction
  • Sensory development
  • Emotional bonding

Accredited music therapists are allied health professionals

Music therapy is an allied health profession. Over 8,500 music therapists in the US have been accredited by the Certification Board of Music Therapists.

Over 4,000 members are registered with the American Music Therapy Association, a professional association for music therapists.

The American Music Therapy Association, like many other allied healthcare professional associations, has created a Code of Ethics. It advocates for the profession at the federal and state level and offers a variety of services to members.

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