What is music therapy? According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is, “…the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” More simply stated, music therapy involves using music in the healing process from physical or emotional trauma. It doesn’t mean one needs to be an accomplished musician, or even able to play an instrument, to participate in this therapy. Music therapy sessions, which are conducted under the direction of a MT-BC (Music Therapist, Board-Certified) can include many activities such as:
- making music
- listening to music
- writing songs
- discussing and interpreting lyrics
- dance and movement to music
How does music therapy help with cancer?
Many hospitals have implemented music therapy programs due to the increasing evidence of improved patient outcomes. Recent studies have shown music therapy has helped patients reduce pain and discomfort from cancer treatments, decrease stress and anxiety, improve mood, help with sleep issues, and assist in expressing feelings and communicating with others. In fact, many cancer centers feature live classical music performances on a regular basis during patient hours. There is a social element as well. Music creates a powerful connection among survivors. Whether the goal is relaxation, expression, distraction or education, music therapy is a great tool to help people dealing with cancer to move forward.