One of the questions I’m frequently asked is if music therapy is a good treatment choice for trauma and/or PTSD. Yes! Several decades of research supports the use of music therapy in treating trauma, PTSD, and other crisis situations. In fact, music therapy traces its’ roots back to helping WWII soldiers in military hospitals recover from their injuries (both physical and psychological).
What is trauma, and how do I know if I’m suffering from it?
Here are some common symptoms of trauma:
- sleep disturbance and/or nightmares
- irritability and angry feelings
- anxiety and panic
- intrusive thought and memories about the specific event
- withdrawal and avoidance of people, places, and things that you didn’t avoid before
- physical symptoms like headaches, upset stomach, and racing heartbeat
So how does music therapy help?
Research has shown that music therapy can provide:
- Nonverbal outlet for emotional expression
- Reduction in anxiety and stress
- Improvement in emotional state and mood
- Empowerment for the client
- Improved physiological changes (better blood pressure, heart rate, etc.)
- Opportunity for sharing and connecting with friends/loved ones
- Increased relaxation
- Safe place for self-expression
- Creative outlet
Music therapy is regularly used as a way to help manage stress and cope with difficult situations. Studies in neuroscience have suggested that music can help the brain rewire itself to learn new skills and/or re-program old pathways into new ones. Music can’t erase old memories, but it can possibly help you to see them from a different perspective.
If you’re curious about how music therapy or GIM can help you, please feel free to contact me. I’m always happy to answer your questions!
~Stephanie Bolton, MA, MT-BC, FAMI