One of the most common misconceptions about music therapy is that the person receiving it needs to know all about music. I frequently tell people that “my job is to know the music; your job is to bring an open mind and a willingness to try something new!” Sometimes we listen to music together in a session. Other times we might play instruments. Or even write a new song. Or maybe create and discuss a playlist. What we do in any given session is determined by what the client needs and how we can best accomplish that through music.
So who benefits from music therapy?
Anyone! But here’s a short list of how it can help–
- military veterans and anyone dealing with PTSD and trauma
- individuals struggling with mental health issues
- older adults diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia (and their caregivers!)
- those dealing with grief over the loss of a loved one
- children diagnosed with learning disabilities (and their caregivers!)
- cancer patients undergoing chemo and radiation therapies
What are the goals of music therapy?
Goals are different for each client, but here are some general examples of areas we address in therapy–
- decreasing stress and anxiety
- increasing self-esteem
- improving communication skills
- managing symptoms of pain
- processing difficult emotions
- developing healthy coping techniques
- improving self-expression
Research has shown that music therapy can be beneficial for managing pain and stress, increasing relaxation and self-awareness, and regulating body systems (like blood pressure and heart rate). It can be used to address short or long-term problems. So depending on the specific issue, a client could be seen for 6 months or a few years. For more information about music therapy, check out the American Music Therapy Association website.
If you fall into one of the categories listed above, then contact me! I’m always happy to answer questions and chat about how music therapy could be the right fit for you.
~Stephanie Bolton, MA, MT-BC, FAMI