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All forms of music, according to Psychology Today, “may have therapeutic effects, although music from one’s own culture may be most effective. In Chinese medical theory, the five internal organ and meridian systems are believed to have corresponding musical tones, which are used to encourage healing. Types of music differ in the types of neurological stimulation they evoke.” Music can be used as a regulating or calming agent for anxiety or for dysregulation, as it acts as a medium for processing emotions, trauma, and grief. Formal music therapy was defined and first used by the United States War Department in 1945 to help military service members recovering in army hospitals with occupational therapy, education, recreation, and physical reconditioning.

What Is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is an evidence-based therapy that, according to Cleveland Clinic, relies on “the clinical use of music to accomplish individualized goals such as reducing stress, improving mood and self-expression…[and] may include listening, singing, playing instruments, or composing music.” Rather than focusing on verbal articulation and communication, music therapy emphasizes listening to and creating music as a form of healing. Music therapy is administered by a board-certified music therapist. It may be conducted in an individual or group setting and can be used in conjunction with other therapeutic modalities or on its own.

Benefits Of Music Therapy

There are a variety of physical and mental health benefits of music therapy. Some of the possible physiological changes that can occur in a teenager that participates in music therapy may include but are not limited to the following examples, provided by the American Music Therapy Association:

  • Lower blood pressure.
  • Improved respiration.
  • Reduced heart rate.
  • Improved cardiac output.
  • Relaxed muscle tension.
  • Lower levels of anxiety.
  • Increased pain threshold.
  • Improved memory.
  • Enhanced motivation.

Music therapy can increase socialization and emotional development in children. As Penn Medicine articulately states, “from stress relief and self-soothing to emotion regulation and physiological benefits, music plays a powerful role in mental health and well-being for many people. For teens, music often takes on an even greater significance—it can contribute to the process of identity formation.” Exposure to creative outlets and specialized modes of expressive arts therapy, like music therapy, can be helpful in fostering other avenues for communication, self-expression, growth, and healing. 

Further Information and Support

For most of us, life can be very stressful, leading us to feel emotionally charged, which can cause anxiety, panic attacks, depression, and getting stuck in a cycle of being burdened with negative thoughts. Navigating through the challenges and emotional turmoil of life can be overwhelming, but you do not have to go through it alone. Engage Treatment is a Joint Commission Accredited professional psychological practice. We specialize in treating children, teens, and young adults struggling with depression and anxiety through community-focused treatment plans that incorporate a carefully selected combination of therapeutic interventions. Our compassionate, multidisciplinary practitioners are devoted to providing the highest quality of care that helps ignite positive change and enables clients to reach optimal health and well-being. Please do not hesitate to reach out for guidance. We are happy to answer questions and provide you with any additional information. Feel free to call us at 805-497-0605 or email us at [email protected]. You are also welcomed to get in touch by filling out our contact form. We look forward to connecting and having the opportunity to discuss how we might best be able to support you.

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