What Is Music Therapy? – Music therapy is a form of creative expression that dates back to the 1970s. It’s often used in addiction programs as an alternative treatment. Music therapy interventions are also employed in different clinical environments to improve the overall functioning and mental health of a patient.
This kind of therapy often elicits positive results among those who have trouble expressing themselves in traditional ways or don’t benefit from other recovery options. Music is a wonderful form of artistic self-expression that allows a person to interact with themselves and others in a nonconventional way. It is a readily accessible intervention, and a background or education in music is not needed to participate.
Music therapy helps patients do the following:
- Improve positivity
- Gather self-knowledge
- Increase concentration
- Enhance interpersonal skills
- Empower oneself through success
- Explore emotions and self-esteem
- Develop coping skills and problem-solving strategies
- Improve mindfulness and relaxation techniques
Music Therapy for Teenagers and Young Adults
Adolescents and young adults may be especially receptive to music therapy due to their frequency of listening to music. Research has found that addicted adolescents in hospital environments are able to develop a more positive identity and self-image through music therapy.
Music therapy interventions allow withdrawn teens to express themselves in a healthy manner. Addiction treatment centers with a higher percentage of adolescents are more likely to make use of music therapy. This fact suggests that many recovery programs may offer services that they believe will best benefit their main clientele population.
Music Therapy Activities
Certified music therapists employ techniques that work to foster positive change in people’s lives by addressing their individual needs. Music therapy activities can include all aspects of music, both vocal and instrumental, such as the following:
- Listening to music
- Discussing music
- Actively creating music
- Playing with others
- Music games
- Interpreting lyrics
There are two basic forms of music therapy: active and passive. In active music therapy, clients actively engage in creating music with their voice, instruments, or other objects. Passive music therapy typically consists of people doing a relaxing activity such as coloring while listening to music. Both forms have been proven to lower heart rate and improve mental well-being in those who participate.
Benefits Of Music Therapy In Addiction Treatment
Other benefits of music therapy include the following:
- Reduced anxiety and stress
- Reduced depression
- Increased natural endorphins
- Brain stimulation
- Improved self-awareness
- Heightened self-esteem
- Better emotional control
- Mood improvements
Music Therapy Helps with Other Disorders
Many people who suffer from addiction have a dual diagnosis condition, such as depression or anxiety. These co-occurring diagnoses are often at least partially responsible for drug addiction problems or a result of the abuse. Regardless of the reason why the other condition exists, treatment programs must address both issues concurrently.
Music therapy has been shown to be beneficial for the treatment of the following:
- Chronic pain
- Anxiety and depression
- Mental illness
- Behavioral problems
Types of Music and Benefits
Music is especially personal. For most of us, there are certain songs in particular that have touched our lives and resonate strongly with us. They may bring memories so vivid they might even trigger cravings to the addictive substances from which we are trying to abstain. Music therapy is more than merely listening to music to feel better.
There are specific types and styles of music that can offer benefits, such as the following:
Blues – Blues is a style of music that can help us accept the loss of relationships as a result of our drug use and abuse. What’s more, by stimulating the cerebellum, it can restore motor function that has been adversely affected by addiction.
Songwriting and Lyric Analysis – Writing or studying lyrics composed by others can promote honesty within ourselves by requiring us to confront our individual truths about life, relationships, and emotional dependences.
Drumming – Research has shown that organized drumming, such as drum circles, can induce relaxation and improve brain-wave synchronization. It can also help relieve emotional trauma and promote self-reintegration.
Music Therapy is Fun
A recent study from the University of Queensland revealed that people involved in cognitive-behavioral therapy for substance abuse also really enjoy music therapy. One of the greatest hurdles that rehab faces, according to the study, is identifying ways to engage those seeking treatment that encourages them to keep coming back week after week.
In the study, researchers found a 75% attendance rate, with more than 80% of the participants stating that they would undergo the program again. When evaluating the motivation and overall enjoyment of the program, participants rated their experience as at least a four out of five. And nearly half of the study participants reported that the music aspect made them feel as though they were unquestionably part of the group. This feeling of acceptance can inspire recovering addicts to keep continuing their treatment.
Getting Help for Addiction
Music therapy is an excellent alternative to traditional talk therapy and can increase a person’s desire to remain within a program for the enjoyment that it provides. Recovery in Tune offers music therapy, as well as many other essential treatment services in intensive outpatient and regular outpatient formats.
Contact us today if you or someone you love is ready to leave addiction behind and reclaim the healthy, joyful life you deserve!