Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Music Therapy As A Way To Process Trauma | Music Think Tank


The power of music to inspire, energize, and bring people together is great. Music can conjure emotions, memories, and feelings long past. It can lift us up, calm us down, make us happy, and make us sad. All you need to do is listen to a song from your childhood or listen to a movie soundtrack to know that this is true.


Music even has the power to aid in the healing process. For those who have experienced trauma, music therapy can be especially powerful and can provide a unique way to begin to heal and thrive.


Music therapy can be an integral and effective way for people of all ages to process trauma. Whether used in the classroom, in a counseling setting, in a hospital, or someplace else entirely, the power of music therapy for healing should not be overlooked. It can easily become a lifelong practice that enhances life and helps heal wounds for years to come.

What Is Music Therapy?

According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy utilizes music as a way to address emotional, physical, social, and cognitive issues brought on by crisis or trauma. It is a structured way for any person of any age to cope with trauma and progress toward healing. Similarly, art therapy uses different artistic techniques like painting or drawing to achieve the same goals of healing and thriving.


So how are these therapies used? Music and art therapy can be implemented anywhere, from counseling offices to classrooms. For example, one common technique is to incorporate art therapy into primary school classrooms to help children access and process their emotions. By bringing safe art supplies into the classroom, art therapy can be used to encourage both healing and learning without feeling the need to micromanage, which might have the opposite effect.


Music therapy can also be used in hospitals to aid in healing for people of all ages. Whether utilized in a children’s ward play area or in a group of elderly people, using music to heal is an effective therapy that could really make a difference for someone suffering from trauma.


Music and art therapy can also be combined by journaling or painting to music, for example. The possibilities are endless and often inspire impressive transformations. These techniques can help people affected by trauma learn to create more and express emotions that otherwise might overwhelm them.

The Power of Trauma & PTSD

Trauma is an affliction that is often overlooked. You may not know that someone has experienced trauma or is dealing with PTSD just by looking at them — in fact, you likely won’t. These struggles are sometimes hidden and contained, making them all the more debilitating for those dealing with them on a daily basis.


Trauma affects people of all ages and can make even the simplest of tasks overwhelming and emotional. Someone who has recently been in a car accident, for example, may find driving to work to be an intense trigger that brings their PTSD to the forefront and keeps them from going about their life. Effects of PTSD can include anxiety, disturbing flashbacks, interrupted sleep, irrational fears, lack of emotional control, and more. Trauma and PTSD can seep into every area of life, making healing therapies extremely important for well-being.


According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, one reason music therapy can be so effective in processing trauma is that it helps people to “acknowledge and process their emotions in a healthy and healing way.” Sometimes, alternative therapies provide the leap in healing that is needed in order for people to thrive.

How Music Therapy Helps Heal Trauma

Art and music are individual and expressive crafts that often allow people to experience emotions they wouldn’t otherwise be able to access. Sound healing is an idea that’s widespread and well-recognized, and music therapy is essentially a structured and intentional way of utilizing and harnessing the power of music.


Whether singing, creating music, passively listening to music, making art while listening to music, exercising to music, using music as a basis for relaxation, or something else entirely, the healing process can undoubtedly be strengthened and aided by the presence and utilization of these techniques.


No matter the setting, music and art therapy are perfectly suited to help heal trauma. According to Concordia University-Portland, “adverse experiences and trauma are often sudden and unexpected” when working with students who have experienced trauma. So in the classroom, for example, teachers must have alternative techniques at hand to help these students deal with what they’re feeling.


Music therapy can be used as a stand-alone therapy or in addition to more traditional forms of healing like counseling to aid those who are on a healing journey due to trauma. Whether you think of music as art or business, consider using the power of music therapy as a way to process trauma and get to a point of happiness and thriving.

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