The American Music Therapy Association defines 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." Essentially, that means that in music therapy, we create collaborative and individualized goals for you that we then work on using music. For example, I’ve used music therapy to work on increasing psychological flexibility (see the “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” section for clarification on what that means) through practicing mindfulness and acceptance through music. It doesn’t matter if you have a Ph.D. in music or if you have no musical experience whatsoever; music therapy is set up both for success and to address your goals.
Just as psychotherapy sessions vary depending on the person, individual music therapy sessions are also individualized and will look different for each client. If you’re needing to express your emotions and get your feelings out, we may do some improvisation where you and I create a soundscape with various instruments to support your experience and to help you move through your emotions. If there’s something that is better reflected in song lyrics than you could verbalize, we may sing the song together and talk about the lyrics. We might write a song together to honor your experience, or we may do art to music to practice mindfulness. The possibilities are endless and really depend on who you are, what your preferences are, and what you want to work on.
I also provide group music therapy sessions. These will also vary from group to group as I take into account the preferences of each client. The interventions will also vary as well, depending on the clients, their individual goals, and the goals of the group. We may improvise to examine group dynamics in sound. We may write a song together as a group to build rapport within the milieu and demonstrate universality. We could practice acceptance and letting go of control as we play together. Again, the possibilities are wide!
Visit the American Music Therapy Association at www.musictherapy.org to learn more about music therapy. Contact me to set up an individual music therapy session or to discuss how music therapy could be utilized in your facility.