Music therapy is a form of therapy in which music is heard for an average of 8 to 12 hours per day as part of a hospital routine. It is transmitted via audiotapes and radio. The aim of this therapy is to create a calm environment amid the chaos in the hospital. This plays a useful role in allaying anxiety and relaxing patients in critical care.
There are different practices in Music Therapy:
Helps patients appreciate the significance of music and art in general. Before music is played for patients, they are given a biography of the composer and other details about the music. This may be administered in a group setting or individually. This facilitates the uncovering of morbid experiences, termed communicative music therapy, and causes emotional enlivenment, termed reactive musical therapy. In contemplative therapy, both the music that soothes as well as the group setting and the group therapy used bring out morbid experiences of the patients. This therapy also aims to soothe agitation and alleviate sadness.
In combined music therapy, music therapy is used in conjunction with other therapeutic procedures. Unlike background music therapy, it calls for the patient to select musical compositions that enhance therapeutic outcome and suit the patient. Sometimes in this form of music therapy, hypnosis is conducted while the subject listens to the music. This music is often accompanied by suggestion under hypnosis that improves the therapeutic outcome. In combined music therapy, the patient is asked to select music he likes as it will soothe him better, and here music is used as an adjuvant to various other therapies.
Executive music therapy consists of individual or group singing and playing musical instruments. Patients with long hospital stays are the best candidates for this form of therapy. It strengthens patients' self-confidence and their feelings of worth among others. Executive music therapy can be incorporated into the occupational therapy routine.
In executive iatromusic therapy, a musician performs in children's psychiatric units. This form of therapy frequently is used in managing emotionally disturbed, mentally retarded, and dyslexic children.
In creative music therapy, patients write songs, compose music, and play instruments as a form of catharsis. Grief over a deceased loved one, oppression, and repressed feelings and fears often are well expressed in music and song.
The Use of Music Therapy in Psychiatric Disorders
Music therapy has been used effectively in both adults and children with psychiatric disorders. It has been used to modify the behavior of children with autism and pervasive developmental disorders with moderate success. It has been used to reduce agitation in patients with dementia by soothing them and eliminating the social isolation of these patients.Music therapy has been used in patients with Parkinson's disease to improve motor skills and emotional problems. There is ample evidence of the usefulness of music therapy in alleviating grief and in combating bouts of depression.