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Music Therapy and Treatment
In recent years, music therapy has developed as one of the latest treatments for drug rehabilitation. It has been justified through research and clinical evidence. Through a music program, individuals can set goals and develop a therapeutic relationship with a licensed practitioner. Music therapy is currently considered an established medical profession and seeks to address the cognitive, emotional, and social needs of the individual. While engaged in music therapy, individuals may spend time singing along, creating music, or dancing to songs. With consistent help, individuals can strengthen their abilities and learn a new way to communicate. Individuals who are unable or unwilling to communicate through normal avenues are better able to address their needs through this alternate form.
Research in the field shows that music therapy is effective for patients. Through clinical studies, researchers have found that music increases the individual’s motivation and allows them to become a part of their treatment. For physical rehabilitation, it assists with improving physical health and offers a way for patients to express their feelings. Drug treatment programs often offer music therapy along with other forms of therapy. Each individual is assessed according to their reputation and receives a musical vehicle that allows them to fully express their ideas.
History of Music Therapy
Music has been recognized for having healing properties since the beginning of recorded history. Writings from philosophers like Plato and Aristotle spoke highly of the therapy process. As a profession, music therapy officially began after the first and second world wars. Musicians began to tour Veterans hospitals in an effort to reduce the physical and mental stress experienced by the patients. The hospitals where musicians played showed marked improvements in the emotional and physical well-being of the patients. After recognizing this improvement, the doctors began to request that musicians be hired by the hospital. Since additional training was needed, a college curriculum developed that was specifically designed for music therapy.
The first reference to music therapy as a medical option was in 1789. An article in the Columbia Magazine indicated that encouraging music therapy could help patients. By the early 1800s, two dissertations were written in the medical field on the topic of using music therapy. By the middle of the 1800s, places like Blackwell’s Island started to record and use music intervention in institutional settings.
With the rise of music therapy, early associations began to form in the early 1900s. Most of these organizations were short lived and lasted for only a few years. By the 1940s, three people transformed the entire future of music therapy. Ira Altshuler, MD, Willem van de Wall and E. Thayer Gaston started to push the profession into the mainstream of the world’s medical field. Initially, the first college training program in the field began at Michigan State University. Later, universities like Alverno College, the University of Kansas, College of the Pacific, and the Chicago Musical College implemented this.
On June 2, 1950, the National Association for Music Therapy was formed in New York City. Unlike past organizations, the NAMT worked to create standards for college training, a constitution, and bylaws. This association worked to research and create a registry of music therapists. In addition, they began to publish the compiled research within medical journals. In 1971, the other main association for music therapists was formed. Currently called the American Association for Music Therapy, the new association was similar to the NAMT, but it had differences in its philosophy and education.
Who Benefits from this Therapy?
A wide range of patients can benefit from using music therapy. It has been noted as an effective treatment for substance abuse problems, brain injuries, and chronic pain. Due to the wide range of options, music therapy is available in psychiatric hospitals, outpatient clinics, drug and alcohol treatment programs, and medical hospitals. In order to practice music therapy, the therapist must take a specific curriculum at college and have an internship in the field. Once they have completed this internship, the future therapist is able to take a national exam through the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Once they have passed the examination, qualified music therapy professionals are listed in the National Music Therapy Registry.
Techniques and Researchers
Organizations like the AMTA publish research regularly in publications like Music Therapy Perspectives or the Journal of Music Therapy. Through the research, music therapy programs have been set that are designed to meet the needs of each patient. Healthy individuals may listen to music to relax or reduce stress. Certain types of music like active drumming have been used by traditional cultures in Africa and are still used in therapy programs. Even women in labor and delivery now have the option to use music to cope with pain. In drug rehabilitation programs, music therapy is used to help patients explore complex or personal feelings. It can be used to counteract depression and induce sleep. During detoxification, patients can use music therapy to reduce the amount of apprehension, stress, or fear that they experience.
Although the field of music therapy has been growing over the last few years, there are still some misconceptions about this therapy. Some people feel like they will only be able to benefit if they are skilled at an instrument. Research has shown that music therapy is effective for people with any musical ability. To decide which treatment process to use, therapists look at the patient’s goals, needs, preferences, and circumstances.