Music therapy is a unique style of therapy, involving music to help overcome cognitive, emotional, social, and physical problems. It may be used to help promote overall health, manage stress, improve memory, help expression of feelings, reduce or eliminate pain, or support healing from physical problems or disorders.
This form of healing is done through a music therapist. The practitioner makes an initial assessment of the client’s overall emotional and physical well-being. He or she also looks at the client’s level of social functioning, cognitive skills, and communication skills. After making these assessments, the therapist creates individual music sessions for the client. These sessions can also include group music therapy. Activities could be listening to music, discussing lyrics, performing music, writing songs, and learning through music.
This approach to therapy has indeed been shown to help both children and adults of all age ranges. It helps those with developmental and learning disabilities surmount obstacles. It also can help those with Alzheimer’s disease and other age-related conditions recoup their memory. In addition, those who have coped with drug abuse or who have suffered from brain injuries can benefit from music therapy. People dealing with chronic or acute pain, including mothers giving birth, can also use music therapy to alleviate pain.
Music therapy is also sometimes used by hospitals to improve the mood of their patients or to counteract depression. Clinics also use music to help encourage patients to move during physical therapy, or to calm patients that need to be sedated or who need to rest. It is also used in hospitals to reduce muscle tension and to help patients relax.
Even schools use music therapy to help children be more successful. For special education students, music therapy is sometimes included in the student’s Individualized Education Plan, or IEP. Music therapy is sometimes used to help these children improve their communication skills or to strengthen their physical coordination, which helps them be more successful in general education classes.
The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) has conducted a great deal of research into the effectiveness of music therapy. There research has time after time shown the constructive effects of music therapy.
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