Music Therapy for Improved Mental Health
A familiar song, a pleasant melody, a powerful orchestral movement or the driving rhythms of a hip-hop beat – music has a way of evoking emotional responses in almost everyone. For music therapists, reactions ranging from a sense of security and calm to feeling reflective, nostalgic, excited or motivated provide a basis for communication and expression that often goes beyond what can be accomplished through words alone.
Incorporating active music making, listening and discussion, a single music therapy session frequently brings immediate and lasting improvements in the participants’ mental and physical wellbeing. Musical aptitude is never a requirement and sessions can be individualized around abilities, needs, and musical tastes.
As a treatment for people with mental illness or addiction issues, research backs the health benefits of music therapy, including:
- Positive changes in mood and emotional state
- Increased self-esteem
- Adoption of coping and relaxation skills
- Decreased anxiety/agitation
At Carrier Clinic®, music therapy has been a part of the treatment milieu for decades and continues to grow and evolve.
In January a grant received from the Bank of America Charitable Gift Fund provides funding for a new program in Harp Therapy. What can harp music do? Edie Elkin, founder of Bedside Harp, explains it by saying, “the harp is used to promote healing, to soothe, provide comfort, release of emotions and relaxation wherever the patient may be – in a bed, hallway, or waiting area.” Not only will the person benefit from the soothing music, but in certain therapeutic sessions, the patient is able to encircle the harp, pluck the strings and feel the vibrations, which has been found to provide comfort to those who have recently experienced a loss.
It is scientifically proven that music can heal- even without experiencing a formal music therapy session. Simply listening to the music that moves you can reap some of these benefits- so next time you hear that song that always puts a smile on your face, turn up the volume and enjoy the healing power of music!
For more information, click here for our clinical paper and video on Art and Music Therapy.
Every gift can make a difference in the lives of our patients, their families, and the community at large.