We’re often surrounded by music, and music helps us tell stories and express feelings. In music therapy, your therapist will use music to help you explore your problems and concerns. You will also use music as a way to both express yourself and create a beneficial atmosphere that helps you heal. Music therapy can help children and adults express themselves and develop new coping skills, especially in times of crisis or during recovery from trauma.
The American Music Therapy Association defines music therapy as, "the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. 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."
Music therapy can consist of playing instruments, writing songs, listening to music, dancing, moving to music, and discussing your feelings based on music that you hear. Some conditions and situations that can benefit from music therapy include:
- Autism spectrum disorders
- Anxiety disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
- Communication problems
- Grief counseling
- Substance use disorders
- Cognitive impairments
- Dementia and memory issues
- Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- Mood disorders
Music has been shown to have a powerful effect on our bodies and minds. Some patients who have trouble expressing themselves verbally may find it easier to use music to explain how they feel or explore their feelings, especially children and adults with impaired verbal communications skills.
Music therapy can help you find a non-verbal outlet for your emotions. Through using this form of therapy, you can develop ways of taking care of yourself when you need it, foster good mental health habits, reduce anxiety and stress, and address other issues you may be experiencing.
Music therapy can be an essential component of your treatment plan as you and your therapist or your child’s therapist develop an approach to treatment that fits your needs.