Whether it’s a song that reminds you of a particularly vivid moment in your life, or a rhythm that sweeps you up in its momentum, music affects how we’re feeling. It calms us, excites us, taps different emotions, and connects us to others. Aside from being entertainment or relaxation, music has the ability to help us recover and heal from a traumatic event. Music also acts as a tool for calming and regulating behavior. And music can reinforce or change our moods.
Using Music-Assisted therapy can help you engage more in your treatment by allowing you to combine emotional experiences with thought processes and muscle memory. It provides new and additional ways to communicate your emotional experiences. Music-Assisted therapy can help you develop resilience, reduce symptoms that result from trauma or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and increase your sense of identity.
In Music-Assisted therapy, professionals harness the power of music to address a range of mental health conditions like depression, trauma, and anxiety. It can be conducted in groups or individually, it can involve listening to music, analyzing lyrics, writing your own lyrics, or creating music on your own or with a group.
Sometimes talking directly about a trauma you have experienced can be quite difficult; Music-Assisted therapy options, such as lyric analysis, provide access to many of the same emotions, thoughts, and experiences in a less direct way. Using the tools of lyric analysis can help you to address concerns and obstacles in your life.
Song writing provides a positive creative outlet for your feelings, memories, and thoughts. Writing lyrics that express your emotions and selecting musical accompaniment to those lyrics can be a rewarding and therapeutic exercise. And listening to music can enhance or change our moods—in active music listening, a form of music assisted therapy, a therapist may initially play music that matches the client’s mood, and then play something a little different to slowly change the client’s mood in a more positive direction.
When you create music in a group, you can evoke emotions the members of the group may be feeling, which can generate discussion about those feelings. And participating in group Music-Assisted therapy can provide connection and interaction with others, something that can get lost in the struggle of coping with mental health issues.
Though Music-Assisted therapy requires active engagement on your part, you do not have to have any experience or expertise in music in order to participate. Music-Assisted therapy is generally used in addition to other therapeutic approaches, not as a stand-alone therapy. The combination of Music-Assisted therapy and traditional therapeutic approaches can result in a greater reduction of symptoms than traditional therapy alone.