When is Music Therapy Used?

People in different ages and stages of life can all respond to music, which is one reason music therapy (MT) can be so effective. Considered one of a larger category of therapies called “expressive therapies,” MT can be used in a wide variety of settings. Because it’s been shown to be especially helpful in reducing stress, trained musical therapists can use this type of therapy to help patients in all sorts of situations.

Some Positive Benefits of MT

The benefits of using music in a therapeutic way are manifold. Just some of the benefits include improved relaxation and respiration, decreased levels of anxiety, lessened pain and improved moods. Depending on what problems a patient may have, a trained and certified therapist will assess their issues and then help them to engage in the therapy in ways that can aid their recovery or promote better overall health and well-being.

Some Important Ways in Which MT Can Be Used

The range of health situations that can benefit from MT is wide, moving through the entire life cycle, beginning with mothers and infants receiving prenatal care on up through elderly patients suffering from dementia or other forms of illness. Music can help relieve the stress of pregnant women. High levels of stress can affect both her and her unborn child, weakening their immune systems. MT can also be used to help a woman relax during labor and childbirth. On the other end of the spectrum, elderly patients often benefit from MT. According to theĀ American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), patients who suffer from deficits in different types of functioning, such as social, cognitive, physical and psychological can benefit from therapy. Therapy for such patients can be designed to improve memory and communication as well as to reduce stress or anxiety. It can encourage patients to move more, which can also help them engage in other types of therapy. Not to be overlooked is the fact that music can help these patients to express their emotions and feelings.

Using musical therapy can help patients in other situations, as well. It has proven to be effective in patients recovering from trauma, providing an important non-verbal way of responding to and beginning to make sense of a crisis situation. Since one of the potential benefits of MT is a feeling of increased confidence or control, that can be a particular help to someone who has survived a natural disaster or other time of great trauma. MT can be used with military populations and also in correctional facilities. It can be effective in helping people to cope with mood or behavioral disorders. While studies about its potential benefits are still emerging, it is also being used with patients on the autism spectrum. Some of the emerging evidence seems to indicate that such therapy can very effective with young children on the autism spectrum to help them improve communication and other skills.

When you begin to read about the use of music in therapy, you may be surprised to discover just how many populations can benefit from its use. Most anyone who could benefit from stress relief, the stimulation of the senses or pain management could be a possible candidate to engage in music therapy.