There are all sorts of therapies out there. There is no natural way to lay value on any method or claim that one works better than the other, as it is up to the individual to decide what works best. There are now more innovative therapies than ever before, and music therapy is one of them. Music therapy is reasonably old with many advantages. First, let’s look at what it is all about.
What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is any therapy in which music is used as a method of calming, rehabilitation, or both. In music therapy cases, patients may listen to music in conjunction with other therapy methods to create a relationship between the feeling of calm that they experience and the music being played. This can also be therapy in which the patient plays music. In any case, this type of therapy works to use music as a tool to help calm and rehabilitate. This type of therapy is especially helpful in individuals who lack communication skills and children who have been through traumatic experiences.
How Does Music Therapy Work?
Music therapy can take many different forms, but there are four specific forms you may run into when using or learning about it. The first and most common form of music therapy is relational or associative music therapy. This means using a song, a specific set of songs, or a genre of music to calm someone down. This works exceptionally well with children with autism and other social anxiety disorders. In this case, a therapist would try to connect a song or music style and a feeling of being safe and happy. In cases where that child was upset or distraught, the parent or caretaker could then use the music to help calm the child down and get them back to a state of calm.
Another form of music therapy is music therapy, which is used to help rehabilitate those with brain injuries or other injuries. In this case, a therapist might choose a song and then teach the patient parts of the song to help with recall and memorization. This, in turn, would then allow the patient to begin to regain capacity and ability to function, which is incredibly beneficial. This type of therapy is also great for those children that have learning disabilities and that may not be able to grasp concepts as quickly as others. This can also relate directly to individuals with neurological disorders like stroke and dementia, as well as amnesia.
Another type of music therapy is often used in patients with mental illness. This is cases like those that have schizophrenia and other illnesses. In this sort of case, Who can use music to keep a person calm, to help them focus, and to help them regain control if they feel like they are slipping? Though Who should not use this in place of other therapies and proper medication, it can help those with mental disorders and those caring for people with mental disorders better keep the ill effects under control.
The last type of music therapy you may run into is music therapy to help deal with mood disorders. This type of therapy is used to help even out mood swings. Those with conditions like depression may associate a song or type of music with happiness, and it can help them sort out feelings of intense depression. Those who suffer from frequent mood swings may use music to even out their moods and calm themselves. Lastly, those suffering from mood disorders with trouble discerning or figuring out moods may use this type of therapy to get their moods evened out and experience emotion as they should. This therapy is very beneficial for children and adults who suffer from mood disorders.
Who Can Offer Music Therapy?
Very few are trained to offer legitimate and sanctioned music therapy. A therapist must have completed a music therapy program to provide music therapy. In this program, therapists will learn both about therapy that is common and practices that are approved, as well as learn about music. In this type of degree or certification, the therapist will be required to learn about human psychology and music.
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The main goal of this type of therapy is to use music, and all its facets, to help patients get to a better place in life. Those trained to offer music therapy are often musicians themselves, and therefore they understand music’s power over the individual. Music therapists may use techniques like free improvisation, listening, discussing, moving to music, and even singing to evoke emotion and response from their patients. Though this type of therapy may seem somewhat silly and strange, music has the power to lift spirits and change the way that people look at the world.
Those who offer music therapy will also have the ability and desire to relate emotions in the music to patients’ feelings. This type of therapy is beneficial in children as it lacks some typical structure that you might see in other therapy types. This is also very helpful for individuals who have difficulty expressing themselves in readily relatable terms.
Methods of Treatment With Music Therapy/ Music Therapy Activities
The first and most common method used with musical therapy is improvisation. This means allowing the child or adult to listen to or create music as they see fit. This allows the therapist to gauge where the person is in their feelings and to see what is going on in their head. The next type of therapy you may run into is receptive listening. This means listening to a song or type of music and then talking about how it makes you feel, what you think about it, and what you thought about as you listened to it. This again allows the therapist to get a sense of the person they are working with.
Still another method you may see is dancing. This helps to lower inhibitions and really allows the patient to loosen up. This may not offer the therapist much in the way of actual information about the patient or the patient’s state of mind, but it allows the two to get to know one another. The last method you may run into is singing or association and memorization. This is often used with those that have brain damage and need to improve their memorization or brain function. This can also be used in children who have difficulty relating their feelings. Ultimately, it depends on the method used by the child or adult and the therapist.
Who Benefits from Music Therapy?
There is no tried and true method to determine who can benefit most from music therapy; however, you can learn about the illnesses and disorders commonly treated using music therapy. There is a wide range of things that can be treated using music therapy; mood disorders are one of them. Anyone can suffer from a mood disorder; these can be linked to brain function, hormones, age, gender, genetic mutations, and any other circumstance or issue you could imagine. That being said, there is no natural way to peg down someone with a mood disorder. Any person suffering from a mood disorder can benefit from music therapy. This uplifting therapy method is worlds away from the boring couch and notebook act that everyone expects. Music therapy is often used for autism and other neurologic disorders.
Children are another group that traditionally benefits immensely from music therapy. Though it may seem like the tried and true methods are the best, children often do not respond well to typical therapy sessions. Though it may seem like talking it out is the only way to deal with issues, music therapy can help open up children who were never very responsive. Children with autism and social disorders respond especially well to music therapy as it is a different level of understanding that does not require words or specific communication that they may not be able to master. Those children that cannot speak or cannot relate what they are thinking and feeling respond especially well to music therapy as a whole.
People with mental illness, much like children, respond exceptionally well to music therapy. Those that suffer from disorders like dementia, amnesia, schizophrenia, and more are often better equipped to relate to and understand music than other therapy methods. Music is a noninvasive therapy method that allows patients to relax and be themselves rather than worry about what someone will think of them if they say something wrong.
Lastly, those that have suffered or are suffering from neurologic music therapy or damage also stand to benefit from music therapy. Even when the brain loses the ability to speak and function as it might in the average person, the ability to hear and enjoy music still exists. On a very basic level, music is part of the everyday life of all humans. As such, even those that have suffered from extensive brain damage can still listen to and enjoy music making it very beneficial for those with brain damage, brain trauma, and stroke damage to undergo music therapy. Music therapy, as a whole, is a very varied therapy that can work across the board for all sorts of individuals that need help.
Should I Use Music Therapy?
Ultimately, it is up to the individual to use music is my therapy. It may seem like music therapy is the best approach then you can take a few sessions and decide that it does nothing for you. The only natural way to determine if music therapy is right for you is to take a few sessions and see what happens. There has not been extensive research done in this field, but some studies have concluded that music therapy actually does help those that partake in it. As with any non traditional therapy, it is always best to take a moment to see what works for you. There are some music therapy statistics, but more is needed to decide if it benefits everyone.
In most cases, you can learn a lot from a little bit of research, and plenty of stories out there outline the success of music therapy patients. This type of therapy may or may not work depending on the patient’s receptiveness and the doctor’s diligence.