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How Does Music Therapy Work?

What happens to you when you hear your favorite song? Most likely, it elicits some kind of emotion. For many teens who struggle with mental health disorders, music is a valuable tool that can help them express themselves in a safe, comforting environment. So, how does music therapy work? You might be surprised by how this approach can transform the mind and body.

How Does Music Therapy Work: Vibrations and Meridians

Two teen girls play piano as an example of how does music therapy workMusic therapy is an integrative treatment modality that is used to help people with a variety of health conditions, including depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and substance abuse disorder. Of course, most people are familiar with the way that music can bring about a particular mood. The idea that music can help you heal has been around since ancient times. In traditional Chinese medicine as well as many yoga teachings, different parts of the body correspond with certain tonal vibrations. The frequency of musical notes can interact with these areas to mediate energy flow and heal various regions of the body and spirit. The basic idea is that everything in nature is composed of five elements, and a specific musical note is linked to those elements. If you know where the problem lies, you can find or compose music with particular notes to heal the issue. While these beliefs may not be scientifically accurate, studies do show this type of therapy helps people with depression, seasonal affective disorder, mental illness and substance abuse.

How Does Music Therapy Work: Benefits of This Modality

Using music therapeutically has numerous benefits. Research shows that it can reduce the perception of pain, encourage relaxation, promote rhythmic breathing, relieve stress and anxiety, and also improve mood. When clinicians use it in combination with other healing modalities, such as mindfulness or guided meditation, music can help achieve an altered state of consciousness in which an individual can explore his or her past and present states of being. Music transcends cognition, allowing people to uncover emotions or trauma that they may keep buried.

How Does Music Therapy Work: Lyrics And Listening

A song’s words can be just as impactful as its melody. The elements of music healing include:

  • Analyzing lyrics
  • Making music individually or as a group
  • Active listening
  • Writing songs

Therapists can use these techniques during any stage of therapy. For example, talking about the importance of music in one’s life can establish rapport and a sense of connection for young people who are in the early stages of treatment. Analyzing lyrics can help individuals realize that they’re not alone in their struggles. Learning musical skills may improve self-esteem and help them develop healthy coping strategies. At Destinations for Teens, we use music as part of a holistic approach to treatment. We also use other modalities that have been proven to be useful for mental health and substance abuse disorders, such as:

Young people deal with unique pressures. Successful, long-term recovery should involve a treatment plan that addresses their needs. Call 877-466-0620 for more answers to the question, “How does music therapy work?” It’s time to let yourself or your teen thrive.