How Does Music Therapy Make A Difference For Medical Patients?
Music therapy has been shown to be an efficacious and valid treatment option for medical patients with a variety of diagnoses. Music therapy can be used to address patient needs related to respiration, chronic pain, physical rehabilitation, diabetes, headaches, cardiac conditions, surgery, and obstetrics, among others. Research results and clinical experiences attest to the viability of music therapy even in those patients resistant to other treatment approaches. Music is a form of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it.
What Do Music Therapists Do?
Music therapists use music activities, both instrumental and vocal, designed to facilitate changes that are non-musical in nature. Music therapy programs are based on individual assessment, treatment planning, and ongoing program evaluation. Frequently functioning as members of an interdisciplinary team, music therapists implement programs with groups or individuals addressing a vast continuum of outcomes, including reduction of pain and anxiety, stress management, communication, and emotional expression.
What Can One Expect From A Music Therapist?
Music therapy utilized in a medical setting complies with the expectations and requirements inherent in the medical model of treatment. Professionally trained music therapists design and utilize individualized music experiences to assess, treat, and evaluate patients. Music therapy patient objectives are specific and relevant to medical diagnosis, course of treatment, and discharge timeline. Benefits are described in medical, and not musical, terms.
Through a planned and systematic use of music and music activities, the music therapist provides opportunities for:
Anxiety and stress reduction
Non-pharmacological management of pain and discomfort
Positive changes in mood and emotional states
Active and positive patient participation in treatment
Decreased length of stay
In addition, music therapy may allow for:
Emotional intimacy with families and caregivers
Relaxation for the entire family
Meaningful time spent together in a positive, creative way
--Text courtesy of the American Music Therapy Association