Music-integrated therapy uses music interventions to help modulate the autonomic nervous system, reduce anxiety, depression, and stress, all while building skills that encourage mindfulness, self-confidence, and competency. Anyone can benefit from musical therapy, even those who have been told all their lives that they lack  “good” rhythm or vocal intonation. No background in music is required at all to reap the benefits of this approach!

How Musical Therapy is Used During Sessions

Just like other forms of therapy, musical therapy looks at the individual, taking into account their goals and aspirations to help with issues that are cognitive, behavioural, emotional, physiological, interpersonal, or spiritual in nature. Interventions may include singing, playing instruments, songwriting, movement, improvising, and even recording.

Illustration of a child listening to music

What Are The Benefits of Musical Therapy?

Musical therapy is an amazing tool to be used during play therapy and can also be powerful while working with youth, adults, and seniors alike. It stimulates the brain and releases hormones such as serotonin and endorphins while promoting self-expression, creativity, and mindfulness. It has been shown to increase executive functioning, specifically attentional and inhibitory control in children with Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) (Anand, 2022) and has the capacity to ameliorate relationships that teens experience with their parents, relatives, friends, and peers by improving their self-control, self-discipline, and self-esteem while reducing anxiety, social stress, and frustration (Matokhniuk et al., 2021).

Musical therapy helps increase a person’s stress threshold, promotes positive emotions over negative ones, and enables the regulation of internal processes. Through both the subcortical and cortical regions of the brain, it accesses deep emotional and personal matter that may not be easily verbalized (Abarghoee et al., 2022). This is particularly useful when dealing with trauma because it helps lower defense mechanisms, promotes openness and relaxation through deep breathing, and has the ability to use things other than words to tap into problems.

Music-integrated therapy improves social skills and cognitive abilities in elderly patients, helping to improve their relationships with family and peers, reducing conflicts and symptoms linked to depression, and assisting them in facing multiple long-term conditions and changes in life stages (Domí enguez-Lloria et al., 2019).

Young children with sheet music behind them

Conclusion

At Crossroads Collective we recognize that each client we see is unique. For this reason, we offer a wide variety of wellness options that can be tailored specifically for each individual. We offer music-integrated therapy both in-person at our two locations as well as virtually. This space is one that is friendly, non-judgement, and positive, allowing you to let go, and perhaps try something new!

Written by Amanda Morazain

References

Abarghoee, S. N., Mardani, A., Baha, R., Aghdam, N. F., Khajeh, M., Eskandari, F., & Vaismoradi, M. (2022). Effects of Benson Relaxation Technique and Music Therapy on the Anxiety of Primiparous Women Prior to Cesarean Section: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Anesthesiology Research & Practice, 2022, 1–9. https://doi.org/10.1155/2022/9986587

Anand, A. (2022). The Potential of Music Training to Improve Attentional Control and Inhibitory Control in Children with ADHD. Journal of European Psychology Students, 13(1), 117–127. https://doi.org/10.5334/jeps.582

Domínguez-Lloria, S., Ojea, M. J. G., & Pino-Juste, M. (2019). Efficiency of Music Therapy as a Non-pharmacological Treatment for the Elderly. International Journal of Health, Wellness & Society, 9(3), 27–34. https://doi.org/10.18848/2156-8960/cgp/v09i03/27-34

Matokhniuk, L., Avramenko, N., Kushnir, Y., Shportun, O., Shevchuk, V., Shorobura, I., Kaplinsky, V., Overchuk, V., Kovalt, T. (2021). Psychocorrection of Adolescents ’Anxiety by Music Therapy. BRAIN: Broad Research in Artificial Intelligence & Neuroscience, 12(1), 51–66. https://doi.org/10.18662/brain/12.1/170

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