Τι κάνουν οι μουσικοθεραπευτές και ποιος μπορεί να ωφεληθεί;
By Dr. Michelle Hintz, Psychologist, for EyesOnNews.com, May 18, 2015 – Did you know that most music therapists are trained psychotherapists who use music as the medium for therapy?
Although music therapy is a well-established intervention treatment, similar to occupational or physical therapy, it can be hard to visualize exactly what it entails. The American Music Therapy Association, Inc. defines the practice as “using music therapeutically to address physical, psychological, cognitive, behavioral and/or social functioning.” Used intentionally, music can facilitate healing as well as the development of important skills.
Unique in the way it can be used to help many patients, music touches nearly everyone from infants through to adults. For example, listening to and creating music involves coordination between both hemispheres of the brain, and so it can be used strategically to improve cognitive functioning and language problems.
As in other types of therapy, the music therapist gets to know the patients and devises an individualized program to address their needs. Depending on the goals for the patient, music therapists utilize a wide variety of well-researched, evidence-based techniques including singing, playing, lyric discussion, and other creative activities. For young children, music interventions are an effective way to teach them how to learn, and how to engage and socialize. For adults, it provides a means for exploring themes of independence, love, and loss.
The therapist uses music to connect with the patient, and with time, it can also be used to develop relationships between the patient and their families. A troubled child will be able to participate in a fun activity with their family or friends, allowing bonds to grow in both directions. A patients with autism spectrum disorder who was nearly non-verbal began to speak after first learning to sing their favorite songs. This is because music stimulates the entire brain unlike any other experience. According to recent studies using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)g, simply listening to music lights up the entire brain, and actively engaging with music proves even more powerful.
Music therapy is often an integral component in a comprehensive therapeutic program for children with autism spectrum disorders because of its ability to engage and foster flexibility, creativity, variability and tolerance of change. Active participation in clinical music therapy interventions requires moment to moment adjustments on the child’s parts, gives feedback to the therapist about attention and responsiveness, and fosters a sense of togetherness. While involved in music therapy, children soon realize that they can positively impact the behavior of others and the world around them.
For patients recovering from stroke or traumatic brain injury, music can be the means of reestablishing effective verbal communication. Often those who cannot speak are able to sing words to familiar songs clearly – much to their own surprise!
Regardless of the age, music is often a strong reward, but it is also calming and comforting. In other words, music is powerful but gentle. It touches us like a reassuring hug, it motivates and encourages us to go the extra mile, and unites us in times of joy and sorrow.
Traditionally, music therapy has been just one part of an integrated program, but increasingly it is becoming a primary therapy method on its own. Music therapists provide services at a variety of locations, from schools and day care centers to clinics and rehabilitation facilities. The medium of music can be used anywhere in so many ways, engaging the patients on multiple levels. With the guidance of a music therapist, it creates internal and external environments conducive to an individual’s progress and success across the lifespan. That’s something we can all applaud.