Music therapy is another treatment intervention available to patients at FHE Health. Research has found it effective for a wide range of mental health disorders. In addition to relieving certain symptoms, music therapy can improve patient treatment outcomes. In this section, you will find answers to frequently asked questions, including an overview of music therapy at FHE Health, how it works, what it treats, why we offer it, and other helpful information.
What Is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is a recognized, evidence-based form of therapy for a wide variety of mental and physical conditions. Like other therapies, it should be administered by someone who has training and licensure in the field. At FHE Health, we use it to boost patients’ recovery from substance use and other mental disorders.
The Benefits of Music Therapy and the Link Between Music and Mental Health
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Boost mood
- Facilitate the processing of emotions
- Encourage communication
- Build social relationships
- Promote self-growth and self-understanding
- Encourage wellbeing
All of these benefits can be key to the healing process for anyone who may be in treatment for an addiction or mental health problem.
How Does Music Therapy Work?
Music therapy can take various forms and can be administered individually and/or in groups. For example, through one-on-one song writing and recording with the help of our music therapist, someone struggling to get in touch with what they’re feeling can better identify and process their emotions.
Or, if a patient is missing a loved one, our music therapist might help them record and send a message set to music. This can ease feelings of homesickness and build a sense of emotional connection with their loved one, helping to bridge the distance gap while they are in rehab.
In a group context, our music therapist might invite each participant to play their favorite, feel-good song for the rest of the group and share what about the song makes them feel more relaxed or motivated. This process encourages patients to open up about their experiences and builds trust and connection.
The Science of How Music Therapy Works
While research has established that music therapy works, researchers have only begun to understand the science of how it works. A 2019 brain study published in Frontiers in Psychology shed some light on this question. It found that when people processed emotion with the help of music and a therapist, scans of their brains reflected positive changes at key intervals during therapy. In other words, music therapy impacts the brain, which may explain how it works.
What Can Music Therapy Be Used to Treat?
Music therapy can be used in many contexts to treat many different symptoms and conditions. At FHE Health, we use it to treat a broad range of mental health conditions. Depression, anxiety, and addiction are three of the more common conditions that occur in our patient population and that we treat using music therapy:
- Music therapy for depression – Research has found that depressive symptoms improve for people with mood disorders when music therapy accompanies the usual treatment for depression (medication and psychotherapy). Music therapy has also improved function in depressed patients, according to studies.
- Music therapy for anxiety – Anxiety often co-occurs with depression and can be a major symptom of mood disorders like depression. Anxiety can also be its own primary diagnosis, such as generalized anxiety disorder. In either case, studies have found that music therapy can provide significant relief. With patients who are struggling with anxious thoughts and feelings, our music therapist may recommend spending 3-4 hours weekly just listening to music. That is because when someone is anxious and experiencing stress, their body releases stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Positive or relaxing music can decrease these hormones, inducing a greater sense of calm and restfulness.
- Music therapy for addiction – Patients in substance abuse treatment are often dealing with uncomfortable and even painful cravings. Music therapy provides a healthy distraction from these sticky and potentially triggering thoughts and feelings, so that patients are better equipped to stay focused on treatment. Music also helps ease stress and boost mood. (Stress and mood issues can make patients more susceptible to cravings.)
What Does Music Therapy Entail?
Music therapy entails the use of music to address the needs of a group or individual (whether physical, mental, emotional, or social). Our music therapist uses different musical activities with the goal of improving patients’ function and wellbeing. These activities might include listening to music, playing drums or another instrument, and writing songs or setting a message to music.
What Happens in a Typical Music Therapy Session?
There is no “typical” music therapy session. Therapeutic interventions can depend on the specific context and the individual and/or group needs. Our music therapist may tailor one or more musical interventions to help a patient or group meet a specific goal. These interventions might include listening to music, composing/songwriting, musical improvisation, or singing or playing an instrument.
Why We Offer Music Therapy
At FHE Health, we offer music therapy because of its proven therapeutic benefits for a wide range of mental health conditions. Both people in early recovery from addiction and those in treatment for anxiety, depression, or other mental health disorders have experienced symptom relief and achieved better daily function, thanks to music therapy. Not surprisingly, then, many patients have found they do better when music therapy is part of their care plan.
How to Find a Music Therapist Near Me
Are you looking for help with an addiction or mental health condition and wondering how to find a music therapist near you? Keep in mind that music therapy is most effective as part of an integrated plan of care that also includes standard treatments such as medication and psychotherapy. An inpatient or intensive outpatient treatment program is often the best way to access this type of well-rounded care. For more information about quality treatment that includes music therapy, contact us today at (833) 479-2103.