Mental Health

How Does Music Therapy Make a Difference for Persons with Mental Health Needs?

Music therapy is an effective and valid treatment for persons who have psychosocial,

affective, cognitive and communicative needs. Research results and clinical experiences attest to the

viability of music therapy even in those who are resistive to other treatment approaches. Music is a

form of sensory stimulation that provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability and feelings

of security associated with it. Music therapy for clients with mental health concerns uses musical

interaction as a means of communication and expression. The aim of therapy is to help individuals

develop relationships and address issues they may not be able to address using words alone. Music

therapy sessions include the use of active music making, music listening, and discussion.

What do Music Therapists Do?

Music therapists use music strategies, both instrumental and vocal, which are designed to

facilitate changes that are non-musical in nature. Music selections and certain active music making

activities are modified for client preferences and individualized needs (i.e., song selection and music

may vary). 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 that display a vast continuum of needs, from

reduction of anxiety to deeper self-understanding.

What Can One Expect From a Music Therapist?

Music therapists work with the interdisciplinary team to assess emotional well being, physical

health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through musical responses.

When individualized music experiences are designed by the music therapist to fit functional abilities and

needs, responses may be immediate and readily apparent. Clients need not have a music background

to benefit from music therapy.

Music therapy intervention provides opportunities to:

--Text Courtesy of the American Music Therapy Association