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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 healing. 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 are a variety of physical and mental health benefits of music therapy. Some of the possible physiological changes that can occur in a teenager that participates in music therapy may include but are not limited to the following examples, provided by the American Music Therapy Association:

  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Improved respiration.
  • Reduced heart rate.
  • Improved cardiac output.
  • Relaxed muscle tension.
  • Lower levels of anxiety.
  • Increased pain threshold.
  • Improved memory.
  • Enhanced motivation.

Music therapy can increase socialization and emotional development in adolescents. As Penn Medicine articulately states, “from stress relief and self-soothing to emotion regulation and physiological benefits, music plays a powerful role in mental health and well-being for many people. For teens, music often takes on an even greater significance—it can contribute to the process of identity formation.” Exposure to creative outlets and specialized modes of expressive arts therapy, like music therapy, can be helpful in fostering other avenues for communication, self-expression, and growth.

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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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