According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy provides “clinical and evidenced-based use of music interventions” to support healing and therapy for individuals of any age group, young or old. Qualified professionals who are members of authorized programs offer therapeutic services in a variety of forms for music therapy. Most music therapists will create individualized treatment plans to suit the needs and/or goals of their particular patients.
The intention of music therapists is to facilitate growth and healing within their patients. Many times, music therapists will use a variety of interventions depending on the patient’s particular situation. For example, in one scenario, a patient’s needs might be best met through offering song writing opportunities or discussions about lyrics. For another patient, the music therapist might explore improvisation with musical instruments or performance-based activities. Most patients respond well to music assisted relaxation exercises or simply listening to or singing along with favorite songs.
Most individuals have a unique response to music, especially childhood favorites or songs that connect to their youth. One hospice worker who is a certified music therapist recounts her own experience with patients, saying, “It surprises me all the time when you walk in there how the music reaches the people, and they become so open… it always amazes me how awesome music is and how powerful it is.” Patients and families see the benefits of music therapy as they seek to support and comfort each other.
Music therapists serve as one of many team members of healthcare professionals organized to accommodate the specific needs of individual patients. These experts work together to coordinate the exact needs of each patient so that he or she can gain the confidence needed to achieve goals that would otherwise seem extraordinary.