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Music as Therapy

Music as Therapy

The art form of music is something almost magical, since it has the incredible ability to transcend things like language and to just make a person feel things deep within. Music is something that nearly every single person can relate to in one way or another, and the seemingly countless benefits and uses of music have been studied thoroughly to the point that it is now used all over the world therapeutically. Music and sound have been used for thousands of years to produce favorable outcomes in the mind, though the actual study and application of music therapy is quite novel. Most people have at one point in their lives been thoroughly moved by music, so it’s quite understandable how it can be applied therapeutically, as well. Producing music, listening to it, and learning a new instrument are all ways that music is used as therapy for a large variety of different conditions that affect the brain. Today, we are going to break down what music therapy really is and some of the specific ways that it assists people on their healing journey.

 

What is Music Therapy?

As we just mentioned, music therapy can be incorporated by simply listening to certain music, playing an instrument, writing songs, and even dancing or just talking about it, too. There are specific music therapists, and they work with clients in either an individual or group setting based off their specific needs. As a client, you do not have to be proficient or knowledgeable about music to reap all the wonderful benefits from this style of therapy. The list of conditions that music therapy can help includes but is not limited to anxiety disorders, depression, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, and autism spectrum disorder. There are also different varieties of music therapy, such as cognitive behavioral music therapy, analytical music therapy, community music therapy, and Benenzon music therapy. Each version has their own unique benefits that are useful in different circumstances, so it all depends on the needs of the individual or group involved. The whole goal is to create a connection through music in some way, harness it, and then work from there to improve the mental state.

 

Benefits of Music Therapy

It is nothing short of incredible just how many different benefits that music therapy is able to generate for the people who are having it incorporated into their lives. Music is of course a creative process if you are writing lyric or producing notes with an instrument, and this aspect of creativity is fantastic in and of itself for the sole reason of being such a great creative outlet and means of expression. The list of distinctive benefits of music therapy goes on and on, and below are a few of the most prominent ones that are commonly experienced:

Promotes Relaxation

One of the most evident benefits that is seen through music therapy is an increased level of relaxation in those that are dealing with chronic stress, anxiety, or trauma. Music therapy has shown to assist in decreasing blood pressure, creating an overall sense of calm, diminishing tense muscles, and even lowering physical pain in some instances. This form of therapy has also proven to be help those with sleep disorders like insomnia to get a more quality night of sleep.

Helps Motor Skills

Music therapy can be integrated in lots of different ways, and the act of physically playing music with an instrument is hugely advantageous for motor skills and improving them. Whether you already know how to play an instrument or not, the operation of picking up a guitar, piano, drum, or anything else, creating a rhythm, and conveying yourself through the act of playing is fantastic for improving the motor function. This aspect is especially helpful for anyone that has dealt with any physical trauma or has a disorder that interferes with the neural pathways related to motor control.

Improves Memory

For clients with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other memory problems, music therapy has proven to be an effective treatment. Since music does not require verbal communication, this is a wonderful alternative for when talk-therapies are not a viable option. Musical sounds are terrific at producing feelings of comfort and familiarity, which are some very beneficial outcomes for anyone dealing with memory loss. Music has a way of connecting and engaging with the mind in ways that verbal communication cannot always achieve, so music therapy should be considered as an option if you or someone you know is facing any sort of memory issue.

Increases Confidence

Another common outcome of music therapy is a heightened sense of confidence and self-esteem. Music therapy is often employed in a group setting, such as in facilities that focus on various forms of rehabilitation. Participating in music therapy with others can help create new bonds and a sense of community, which are terrific confidence boosters. Along with the added effect of an enhanced degree of relaxation mentioned earlier and the direct means of self-expression, the function of playing, listening, writing, and discussing music is able to increase the confidence quite significantly. This quality is especially helpful for those struggling with anxiety and depression, too.

 

The many benefits of music therapy do not end here, but these are some of the most prominent ones seen across the board. Having the opportunity to either learn or continue practicing an instrument has shown in numerous ways to be phenomenal for the mind and body, and it lets people dive into a deeper state that is not always reached through verbal communication. Music therapy has even shown to help ease the symptoms that are associated with Parkinson’s disease – how remarkable is that! Music therapy is certainly worth a chance if you believe you can benefit from this treatment style, and you will at least come out of it with a deeper appreciation for the art and some knew knowledge to accompany it.

Getting Help

If you or a loved one are looking to take the next step toward mental wellness in your life, we are ready to help on that journey. We have a team of psychiatrists, therapists and psychologists that specialize in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and medication management. Our team of compassionate and skilled professionals is available for in person appointments for patients in the DFW area. We also offer online appointments for patients in the Austin, DFW, Houston and San Antonio areas.

Author
Dr. Michael Messina

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