During the years I attended psychotherapy, my therapist always had classical music playing in the waiting room. I never figured out if that was supposed to be part of my therapy or if it was playing simply to keep me entertained while I waited for my session to begin. But I do know this, that music always stirred my emotions, either positively or negatively. Think back to the last time you listened to some music. What emotion or emotions did you experience?
I'm sure you will agree that there is a very strong association between emotions and music Have you ever considered music therapy as part of your therapeutic process? If not, you might be interested to know that new research has revealed that this therapy can be a useful treatment for depression. Many people who are depressed, myself included at one point in time, have a difficult time discussing their emotions, not to mention all of their other issues, during therapy. Soothing music is psychologically and physically relaxing enabling people to be more receptive to and therefore benefit more from psychotherapy. However, music therapy, at least in its initial application, can involve more than just listening to music.
Music therapy, as it relates to depression, is the systematic use of music by a certified music therapist during individual or group psychotherapy sessions and is designed to relieve depressive symptoms.
There are two different types of music therapy for your consideration.. The first is known as the active approach. If you find it difficult to put your emotions into words either because you've repressed certain feelings or you don't want to talk about your emotions, the therapist will plan a music program for you in which you'll sing along with or play an instrument along with the music. This process will help you toward emotional release and awareness through the lyrics, melody and rhythm. The second type of music therapy is known as the receptive approach. Your therapist would use this approach only if you'd find it difficult to participate in the music therapy because of your psychological frame of mind, Essentially you'd be a passive listener.
Additionally, there are 5 key benefits of music therapy that include:
1. Creates a sense of control - One of the great benefits of music therapy is that you will be given the opportunity to choose the music you want to use during the session. In essence, allowing you a sense of control over your own treatment and improving your receptiveness to the therapy in general.
2. Helps heal emotions - The entire purpose of this therapy is to free up repressed or inarticulated emotions by using music as a trigger in order to "mend" your feelings.
3. Music therapy is enjoyable - For most people, music therapy is extremely enjoyable since music does lift the spirit and the therapy itself is not perceived to be threatening.
4. Cost efficient - Music therapy can be done from home making it very cost effective for you. Typically, between sessions, your therapist will assign certain pieces of music for you to listen to or interact with at no additional cost.
5. Serves as a positive coping skill - Once treatment is finished you will easily be able to use the same techniques you used in your sessions to cope with future depressive episodes.
Keep in mind that music therapy is an addition to and not a substitute for psychotherapy and any medication that you may be taking for your depression. Finally, if your psychological issues stem primarily from maladaptive cognitions or behavior, music therapy, in all probability, will not be as beneficial for you.