Music therapy is an evidence-based therapy that, according to Cleveland Clinic, relies on “the clinical use of music to accomplish individualized goals such as reducing stress, improving mood and self-expression…[and] may include listening, singing, playing instruments, or composing music.” Formal music therapy was defined and first used by the United States War Department in 1945 to help military service members recovering in army hospitals with occupational therapy, education, recreation, and physical reconditioning. Rather than focusing on verbal articulation and communication, music therapy emphasizes listening to and creating music as a form of therapy. Music therapy is administered by a board-certified music therapist. It may be conducted in an individual or group setting and can be used in conjunction with other therapeutic modalities or on its own.
Music can be used as a regulating or calming agent for anxiety or for dysregulation, as it acts as a medium for processing emotions, trauma, and grief. According to Psychology Today, “All forms of music may have therapeutic effects, although music from one’s own culture may be most effective. In Chinese medical theory, the five internal organ and meridian systems are believed to have corresponding musical tones, which are used to encourage healing. Types of music differ in the types of neurological stimulation they evoke.” There is array of advantages to music therapy, including psychological, emotional, physical, spiritual, cognitive, and social benefits. The American Music Therapy Association explains that participating in music therapy can help:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improve respiration
- Reduce heart rate
- Improve cardiac output
- Relax muscle tension
- Lower levels of anxiety
- Increase pain threshold
- Improve memory
- Enhance motivation
Mental health refers to emotional, cognitive, and behavioral well-being. The World Health Organization (WHO) explains mental health as “a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community.” Music therapy can facilitate opportunities for emotional expression. Exposure to creative outlets such as music therapy can be helpful in fostering one’s communication, self-expression, and growth, which can ultimately improve one’s mental health and overall wellbeing.
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Every family in need of mental health treatment must select a program that will best suit the needs of their family. When one member of a family struggles, it impacts everyone in the family unit. To maximize the benefits of treatment we work closely with the entire family to ensure that everyone is receiving the support they need through these difficult times. Seeking help is never easy, but you are not alone! If you or someone you know needs mental health treatment, we strongly encourage you to reach out for help as quickly as possible. It is not uncommon for many mental health difficulties to impact a person’s life, long term. Pursuing support at the beginning of one’s journey can put the individual in the best position to learn how to manage themselves in a healthy way so they can go on to live happy and fulfilling lives.
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