Using Music to Move Us, Out of Our Heads, and into Our Hearts
Trauma and loss can be debilitating and cause us to become stuck. However, grief is action-oriented. It requires movement, to turn inward, and face our pain. Essentially one must “feel it” to “heal it.” Our journeys are individually unique, personal, similar to that of a fingerprint.
Music Helps to Cope During a Crisis
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy provides “second wave” relief in helping to cope with events surrounding a crisis and its aftermath. The directed use of music and music therapy is highly effective in developing coping strategies, including understanding and expressing feelings of anxiety and helplessness, supporting feelings of self-confidence and security, and providing a safe or neutral environment for relaxation.
Research results and clinical experiences attest to the viability of music therapy even in situations outside of traditional therapeutic settings. Music is a form of sensory stimulation, which provokes responses due to the familiarity, predictability, and feelings of security associated with it.
Feedback from relief workers and caregivers indicates that music therapy sessions helped to develop a stronger sense of readiness to cope with day-to-day stressors and potential future crisis situations.
Music Reduces Stress
Music therapy has been shown to have a significant effect on an individual’s relaxation, respiration rate, self-reported pain reduction, and behaviorally observed and self-reported anxiety levels.
A coordinated program of music and music therapy interventions in response to crisis or trauma, designed and implemented by a qualified music therapist, provides opportunities for:
- Non-verbal outlets for emotions associated with traumatic experiences
- Anxiety and stress reduction
- Positive changes in mood and emotional states
- Active and positive participant involvement in treatment
- Enhanced feelings of control, confidence, and empowerment
- Positive physiological changes, such as lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate, and relaxed muscle tension
In addition, music therapy may improve
- Emotional intimacy with peers, families, caregivers
- Relaxation for family groups or other community and peer groups
- Meaningful time spent together in a positive, creative way
Music gets us out of heads and provides an avenue for expressing what perhaps cannot be said, but felt. Consider connecting with a music therapist. Contact me at SHCS.