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What is Music Therapy?

In terms of alternative therapies, it seems like something new is popping up every week. However, music therapy has been around for much longer than you may realize. As defined by the American Music Therapy association, this practice is the use of music to help in a therapeutic setting by a trained and licensed therapist. In providing the musical background, music therapy helps to guide the patient to healing from trauma as well as to aid in the healing of emotional blocks.

There are a number of ways that music therapy can be used in a therapy practice. Sometimes, it’s as subtle as playing soothing music during a session or it might be a situation in which emotionally charged music is played and the patient is asked to react in a dialogue. Appropriate in nearly all therapy settings and age groups, music therapy allows the therapist to communicate with the patient on a different level than they might be able to say aloud.

In some music therapy settings, the patient may be asked to share music that is powerful to them or they might be asked to create musical compositions that will help with their healing process. A patient might write lyrics that will help them put their feelings into words, but in the context of a song, they can distance themselves from these feelings aiding them in dealing with more difficult problems.

Sometimes, music therapy is used in nursing homes and in mental health institutions to help establish a rapport with patients and to assist with emotional troubles. This type of therapy may be used in a private session or it may be used in a group setting, depending on the goal of the musical selection. Often, it is combined with dialogue therapy to change the mood and the answers that the patient may give.

Interestingly enough, most people practice some sort of music therapy for themselves when they are stressed or when they are happy. By playing uplifting music, you might be able to shake yourself out of a funk, while playing somber music can help you delve deeply into a period of sadness. Clubs and stores often choose their music based on the moods they want to create in their customers another sort of music therapy.

With music therapy, you are interacting with the brain and its ability to process the notes to light up different parts of the brain that need help lighting up and functioning properly. Scientifically sound, this type of therapy is helping many people find the right notes of their life.

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