Exploring novel music therapies to improve mental health outcomes
Jasmine Parmar and Dr. Austin Mardon
Antarctic Institute of Canada
Music therapy is a form of psychotherapy that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals (American Music Therapy Association, 2020). It has been shown to be an effective treatment for a wide range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) (Knox, 2018). In recent years, there have been a number of novel music therapies developed that show promise in improving mental health outcomes.
One such therapy is called "drumming therapy," which involves participating in drumming circles or playing drums in a group setting (Bittman, Bruhn, Stevens, Westengard, & Westengard, 2002). Drumming therapy can help individuals improve their social skills, reduce stress and anxiety, and boost self-esteem (Grossi, Greco, D’Alessandro, & Romeo, 2017). It can also be used as a form of stress management and can help individuals to express their emotions in a healthy way (Lutz, 2009).
Another novel therapy is called "music-assisted relaxation," which involves listening to calming music and incorporating relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and visualization (Schenck, 2014). This therapy has been shown to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, and decrease symptoms of depression (Gerra, Zaimovic, Giucastro, Gerra, & Delsignore, 2004). It can be used as a standalone treatment or as an adjunctive therapy in combination with other treatments (Hofmann, Sawyer, Fang, & Wu, 2014).
"Music-assisted therapy" is another form of treatment that involves the use of music to address specific therapeutic goals (American Music Therapy Association, 2020). This may include singing, listening to music, or creating music as a means of self-expression and communication (Sacks, 2017). Music-assisted therapy can be helpful for individuals who have difficulty expressing their emotions through verbal communication (Bunt, 2010). It can also be used to address issues related to trauma and can help individuals to process and cope with difficult emotions (Baker, 2010).
"Music-supported therapy" is a form of treatment that combines music with other forms of therapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or exposure therapy (Baker, 2010). This approach can be helpful for individuals who have trouble engaging in traditional forms of therapy due to anxiety or other barriers (Logan, 2018). The use of music can help to create a more comfortable and engaging environment, making it easier for individuals to participate in therapy (Bunt, 2010).
"Music and movement therapy" is a form of treatment that involves the use of music and movement to address physical and emotional needs (American Music Therapy Association, 2020). This may include dancing, singing, and playing musical instruments (Knox, 2018). Music and movement therapy can be used to improve physical coordination and flexibility, as well as to promote relaxation and stress management (Konza, 2014). It can also be used to address issues related to self-esteem and body image (Migone, 2017).
Finally, "music-based mindfulness" is a form of treatment that involves the use of music to help individuals cultivate mindfulness and presence in the present moment (Sacks, 2017). This may involve listening to music in a mindful way or incorporating music into mindfulness practices such as meditation (Knox, 2018). Music-based mindfulness has been shown to reduce stress, improve mood, and enhance cognitive functioning (Bittman, et al., 2002).
In conclusion, there are a number of novel music therapies that show promise in the treatment of mental health conditions. These therapies offer a unique and engaging approach to treatment that can be beneficial for individuals who may have difficulty engaging in traditional forms of therapy. If you are interested in trying a music therapy to address your mental health needs, it is important to speak with a qualified music therapist who can help you determine the best approach for your individual needs.
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