What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is the therapeutic use of music and its elements by a trained and skilled practitioner to support a client’s well-being emotionally, mentally, cognitively, socially, spiritually and physically. Elements of music include rhythm, melody, tone, metre, lyrics and harmony.
Music therapy is both about healing and psychotherapy. Music therapy offers a path that goes beyond words and engages your whole being.
Why Music Therapy in Healing ?
Music has the ability to touch us and allow us to access feelings and emotions easily and to give them expression. In healing work,sometimes we fall in love with the spiritual level and it is wonderful to hang out on that level. But to integrate the spiritual healing we must integrate spirit into the rest of our life. This means going through the inner child, and healing the emotional layers left from childhood. With this we are better able to live from our hearts, and with authenticity.
Music therapy is:
- embodied – works with all the layers, including the body
- hands-on and experiential
- expressive – both verbally and non-verbally
- music can be used as a metaphor – no music skill is necessary – it offers its own language
- helps us to contact and strengthen our relationship with our Self
- helps to develop inner resources
Music therapy is helpful for getting in touch with your inner child for self-exploration, to break out of ruts, and offers a creative approach to exploring feelings. At times we find ourselves at a loss for words to express a feeling. Playing with simple instruments and our voices can help to open up places where the feelings have been stuck, and support insights and personal growth. Music therapy can be helpful in understanding family dynamics, as well.
Music therapy can be used as an adjunct to talk therapy, to help open up areas to then be further addressed with another psychotherapist.
My clients include adults who are working through mid-life issues, health issues including cancer, depression, chronic diseases including neurological ones like Parkinsons and MS, either their own (palliative care), or another person’s. Others are interested in a spiritual approach to healing, feel an urge to develop the use of their voice, stress reduction, or alternative approaches to understanding illness.
Music therapy is excellent for people with special needs like those with developmental challenges where language and cognitive development is limited. Music therapy offers opportunities for self-expression of feelings that can become bottled up inside and become behavioral issues. Music therapy also stimulates global development and learning, through it’s capacity to motivate, awaken virtually the whole brain
Children on the autism spectrum are often very drawn to music, which provides opportunities for self-expression,relationship skills, sensory integration, and the use of music learning for global development, opening creativity and flexibility and many other avenues for learning.
With the elderly in retirement homes and long term care, music therapy helps to break through depression, anxiety, support relationships and integration into a new facility. Music Therapy has a well proven track record for people with dementia, including Alzheimer’s, helping them to remember and process the events from their life, and be alive in the present moment.
Teenagers who are struggling with self-esteem, stress, anxiety and similar types of issues benefit through therapeutic approaches like lyric analysis and songwriting, along with learning music skills, if they wish.