Music Therapy

Music Therapy

Music therapy is a type of intervention that involves the use of music and its mental, social, physical, aesthetic, and spiritual elements to improve a client’s overall well-being. A music therapist is a health professional with training or experience in both music and therapeutic interventions. He or she may work with the client to achieve specified goals, such as improving cognitive functioning, social skills, quality of life, emotional health, or motor skills, among others. Music therapy sessions may take place in an individual or group setting and may involve varied techniques, including singing, listening to music, using music as a vehicle for discussing emotions, playing music, or improvising. Music therapy is a relatively new field of psychotherapy that may be used to help people regardless of their age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, religion, disabilities, or illnesses.

Elements of Therapy

Individuals or groups of clients may be directed towards music therapy through a treatment referral. In an interview, the music therapist makes an initial assessment of every client, including his or her cognitive skills, communication ability, social functioning, mental and emotional health, and physical health. The music therapist may work directly with the client to come up with a list of goals, preferences, or needs. The music therapist then chooses strategies accordingly. Strategies may include writing songs, discussing lyrics, reacting emotionally to music, improvising, and learning through music. Clients are also encouraged to express themselves creatively through music. Sessions take place as often as required; usually once a week. The music therapist may work in conjunction with other care providers to plan and evaluate treatments.

Friends Hanging Out and playing music

Usage

Music therapy has had a positive effect on children, adolescents, adults, and seniors. It has also helped specific populations, including individuals afflicted with learning disabilities, chronic pain, developmental delays, mental illnesses, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and medical illnesses, such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and terminal illnesses. Music therapy has been used to successfully treat ailments prevalent among persons in the military, such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It has also been used to aid incarcerated persons. Some of the typical outcomes of music therapy include the development of relaxation and coping skills, self-awareness, self-expression, problem solving skills, communication skills, self-esteem, and a decrease in impulsivity.

Regulation

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) indicates that in order to become a certified music therapist, an individual must hold at the minimum a bachelor’s degree in music therapy obtained from an approved higher education institution. Bachelor’s degree programs usually include training in clinical foundations, musical foundations, and music therapy, according to the list of professional competencies identified by AMTA. In order to graduate, students must complete 1200 hours of supervised clinical training. In order to obtain Board Certification (MT-BC), which is required in order to practice, prospective music therapists must also take a national certification exam.

Portrait of young woman listening to headphones at home

Summary

Music therapy is a type of expressive therapy that involves listening to, discussing, and using music as a means of self-expression. A music therapist is a professional with a special certification and experience in the field. To date, music therapy has had a positive effect on adults, children, and seniors with a wide array issues pertaining to their overall health and well-being.