Songs of Healing: How Music Therapy Can Help Survivors Of Abuse Find Closure

Songs of Healing: How Music Therapy Can Help Survivors Of Abuse Find Closure

music therapy

Trauma survivors dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) may have trouble verbally expressing their problems. A team of researchers in Finland found that patients who received music therapy showed a 50% or greater improvement in treating their symptoms of depression, according to the National Library of Medicine. However, for healing to take its place, survivors of child abuse must externalize their grief if their traumatic memories are to be positively executed and transformed. Here’s how music therapy can help survivors of abuse find closure.

History of Music Therapy

The idea of music as a healing method is said to be at least as old as the writings of Plato and Aristotle. The American Music Therapy Association traced the earliest known reference to music therapy to a paper called “Musically Physically Considered,” dated back to 1789. Even before that, Pythagoras, the Greek philosopher, prescribed a variety of modes and scales to help treat an array of physical and psychological conditions. 

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy helps by providing non-verbal outlets for emotions linked with traumatic experiences, stress and anxiety reduction, positive mood changes, along with enhanced feelings of confidence, control, and empowerment, according to the American Music Therapy Association.  As a type of expressive arts therapy, music therapy uses music itself to improve and maintain the physiological and social well-being of an individual. This involves a broad range of activities, such as listening to music, singing, and playing a musical instrument

How Adult Survivors of Abuse Can Benefit 

Music has a diverse nature, which means it can be applied in both physical and psychological treatments. In some cases, music therapy has also been found to help individuals in ways that other forms of therapy have not. As music encourages positive emotions and stimulates the brain, such therapy is often able to help ease symptoms of mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, insomnia, dementia, and schizophrenia. 

What To Look For In A Music Therapist

Music therapy sessions are designed with several factors in mind, such as the individual’s physical health, cognitive skills, communication abilities, emotional well-being, and personal interests. After measuring these factors with their treatment goals, the music therapist will work with the individual to actively create or produce music. This may include writing a song of their own, engaging in music, or playing an instrument. During the receptive process, the therapist will offer music listening experiences as a method to facilitate relaxation. The individual receiving treatment may then discuss their thoughts, feelings, or ideas created by music. 

Individuals of all ages have turned to the arts to deal with not only the stress of everyday life but to also cope with traumatic experiences that are ingrained in one’s mind. So, from the soothing sounds of classical music to heavy metal, music is a creative activity that is therapeutic and most often the cause of healing with so many survivors across the world.

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