What is music therapy and how does it work?
- How it works
- History and Origins
- Against. other forms of therapy
- For anxiety
- For depression
- Still young
Music therapy involves using a person’s response and connection to music to encourage positive changes in mood and overall well-being. Music therapy can include making music with all kinds of instruments, singing, moving to the music, or just listening to it. Music has a powerful effect on the mind. Different styles of music can have a dramatic effect on a person’s mood very quickly, and it can help them experience and process a wide range of emotions, from happiness to excitement to sadness, to calm. stillness and contemplation. Composing music can also have the same benefits as listening to music, and music therapy encourages people to actively create music that they find helpful. This article explains what music therapy is, how it can help improve mental health, and its effects on various mental health conditions.
What is music therapy?
Music therapy uses music’s powerful ability to improve one’s well-being. It is an alternative to other types of therapy, such as counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). Music therapists use a person’s response and connection to music to encourage positive changes in mood and general state of mind. Music therapy may involve listening to music or creating music using musical instruments. It can also involve singing or moving to music. It can help improve confidence, communication skills, independence, self-awareness and awareness of others, as well as concentration and attention skills.
Live music interaction between a person and their therapist is important in the music therapy process. Improvisation can also be an important part of music therapy. This involves creating music on the spot in response to a mood or theme, such as creating the sound of a storm using drums and rain clubs.
How does music therapy work?
The way music affects the brain is complex. All aspects of music – including pitch, tempo and melody – are processed by different regions of the brain. For example, the cerebellum processes rhythm, the frontal lobe decodes the emotional signals generated by music, and a small portion of the right temporal lobe helps in understanding pitch.
The brain’s reward center, called the nucleus accumbens, can even produce strong physical cues of pleasure, such as goosebumps when listening to loud music. Music therapy can use these profound physical responses of the body to music to help people with mental health problems.
History and Origins
Music has been a part of human life for thousands of years. Specifically, experts have found musical instruments dating back more than 40,000 years, showing that the human desire to express themselves or communicate through music has deep roots.
The use of music for therapy and healing dates back to ancient Greece, but the therapeutic use of music dates back to the 20th century, after the end of World War II. The first reference to music therapy comes from a 1789 article titled “Music Is Considered Physical”.
The 1800s saw the growth of medical research into the therapeutic nature of music, and by the 1940s, universities were offering music therapy programs. E. Thayer Gaston, one of the three pioneers of the use of music as a therapeutic tool, organized and promoted this method to become an accepted type of therapy. Today there are many music therapy associations around the world and music therapists work in personal care, education and social services.
Music therapy versus other forms of therapy
Music therapy does not rely on verbal communication, so it may be better for people who have difficulty with verbal communication. This could be due to a disability, a neurodegenerative disease such as dementia, an acquired brain injury, or a mental health problem. Because CBT and counseling are both talk therapy, they may not be suitable for people who have difficulty with verbal communication.
This is where music therapy can be beneficial. In addition, mental health practitioners can bring music therapy directly to a person, for example, if they can’t get out of bed or get to a therapist’s office. Enjoying music therapy at home can also be beneficial for children who want to be in familiar surroundings during their therapy sessions.
However, this is not specific to music therapy as many other types of psychotherapy can take place at home. The skills a person learns in music therapy can also be useful in their day-to-day life. They may even consider learning a musical instrument as a new hobby, which they can use as a tool to improve their mental health and cope with difficult situations throughout their lives. Benefits
There are additional benefits of listening to or creating music that talk therapies may not offer.
For example, learning and practicing a piece of music can improve memory, coordination, reading, comprehension, and math skills, and it can also teach lessons about responsibility and perseverance.
People can also feel a great sense of accomplishment when creating a piece of music, which can help improve their mood and self-esteem. Music therapy can also introduce people to a variety of cultures, as clients can explore any genre and genre of music during therapy.
Understanding the story behind a piece of music can help people connect with the music they listen to or play. While self-expression is part of talk therapy, music therapy allows people to express themselves creatively, which can be a more enjoyable way to explore difficult emotions.
Lyrical analysis is another accessible way for people to explore and process difficult emotions, experiences, or memories through music. For example, a person can find themes and meanings in lyrics and come up with alternative lyrics that apply to their lives and experiences, which can help them find words that represent them. for their feelings if she finds it difficult to express them.
Some of the documented benefits of music therapy include:
- improve self-esteem
- reduce anxiety
- increased motivation
- successful and safe emotional release
- increase speech
- bond more closely with others
How it helps with anxiety
Many studies show that music therapy can reduce feelings of anxiety, including in people with cancer, people undergoing surgery, and those going to intensive care units. Some studies also show that music can lower blood pressure and heart rate, which can have a direct impact on a person’s stress levels. There is also evidence that people who undergo music therapy experience reduced anxiety shortly after the session, suggesting that music therapy can be a practical way to quickly relieve symptoms. Music affects the amount of stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol, that the body releases, and reducing these hormones can help reduce symptoms of anxiety.
How it helps with depression
Studies show that music therapy can improve symptoms of depression, with people receiving music therapy along with standard depression treatments – such as talk therapy – improving. more than those treated with standard therapy alone. Listening to music can also release dopamine, a hormone that makes people feel good, and endorphins, a hormone that can create a good mood and relieve pain. While music therapy is not a cure for depression, it can provide short-term benefits by improving mood, encouraging connection, and self-expression.
- Some of the benefits of music therapy for children include:
- provide fun ways to express thoughts and feelings
- practice social interaction and communication skills
- encourage creative play
- improve concentration and coordination
- increase self-awareness
- raise awareness of others, especially during group music sessions
- build self-esteem and resilience
- language and listening development
- strengthen family relationships
While music therapy does not cure any mental health problem, it can be an effective and enjoyable tool for reducing symptoms of many conditions, including depression and anxiety. Music therapy offers people a creative and accessible way to express their feelings and process their experiences. People have long used music for its powerful effects on mood and emotions. In addition to helping with mental health issues, music therapy has many other benefits, such as providing a creative outlet, expanding cultural knowledge and awareness, and while improving cognitive skills such as memory.