Music therapy uses the healing power of music to alleviate and cure a wide variety of physical and emotional ailments. Every form of music therapy is a practice-oriented scientific discipline.

What is music therapy?

With the deliberate use of music, be it instrumental music, singing or other forms of musical performance, the mental, physical and mental health should be supported, encouraged, maintained and at best completely restored.

With the deliberate use of music, be it instrumental music, singing or other forms of musical performance, the mental, physical and mental health should be supported, encouraged, maintained and at best completely restored. The fact that music can have healing effects in all its facets is today considered indisputable.

As therapy directly applied to humans and animals, music therapy is always practice-oriented, but closely geared to scientific standards. There is, of course, a close interaction between music therapy and other scientific disciplines, such as medicine, psychology or education. Music therapy is just a collective term, a generic term for the various music therapy concepts that have been developed over many centuries.

By its nature, music therapy is best described as a form of psychotherapy because it directly affects a patient's mood. Music therapy is used equally well in children and adults alike. It is not essential for the success of a music therapy, whether a patient is musically inclined or not. Music therapy as a separate field of study at German universities has only been around since the mid-1970s.

In addition to the full degree programs at universities of applied sciences with the possibilities of Bachelor and Master degree as a music therapist, extra-occupational study courses can also be taken. Many graduate music therapists, clinically or in private practice, have specialized in the fields of music therapy.

Function, effect & goals

Although music therapy as a separate branch of science is still quite young, the beginnings of this form of therapy have been back for some time. The findings from this empiricism have almost all found their way into today's professional application of music therapy. Unconsciously music was always used by all peoples as a healing ritual in the treatment. Music evokes memories and has a direct effect on moods and moods.

By facilitating access to the subconscious, healing processes can be initiated on a depth psychology level. The effects go far beyond those of placebo, which could be proven beyond doubt in several randomized trials. After all, music was an integral part of medical treatments right up to the 19th century. After that, their significance in Europe was largely lost and was not considered again until the end of World War II, then under the name of music therapy.

The professional medical application of music therapy is today an integrative concept in the context of a multimodal therapy. In psychiatry, neurology, geriatrics or pediatrics, music therapy is never used as the only therapy, but always embedded in a therapeutic concept of different treatment methods. The music therapy, however, is equal to the other forms of therapy and is not only understood as a supplement of those.

Music therapy sessions can be offered to individuals of all ages in individual or group therapies. Within a fully or partially inpatient hospital stay, music therapy, especially in paediatrics, is offered as an independent form of therapy. In outpatient care, music therapy is offered in the practices of private music therapists or socio-pedagogical centers. Music therapy has also been included in the catalog of benefits of the statutory health insurance. Cash patients can therefore also use the music therapy according to a prescription ordinance by the attending physician in several therapy sessions.

Particularly impressive treatment successes can be observed in children, as they still have a carefree, unbiased and easy access to any form of music. Children care little if sounds are wrong or not drummed in time. It is known that music in children triggers a natural urge to move. Exactly this circumstance is the music therapy in development delays, aggression, autism or language problems to use. In adults, for example, treatment focuses on music therapy are better coping with chronic pain syndromes or physical or psychological trauma.

In oncology, music therapy sessions serve to relieve stress after chemo and radiotherapy. Also in the rehabilitation of stroke patients, the music therapy has become indispensable.

Risks, side effects & dangers

Naturally, music therapy has little potential for risks or side effects. Should a therapeutic attempt fail, then the music therapist changes the treatment concept and uses other songs, sounds and styles of music. It also takes into account personal preferences of patients.

Often, a combination of instrumental playing and singing is required to achieve a therapeutic success that rarely sets in after the first session. Patients must bring patience until they can ease their symptoms. Even in the first session, a patient will notice whether the chosen music therapy concept is consistent or not.

The effect of the music on the subconscious mind can lead to strong emotional fluctuations and emotional outbursts during the therapy sessions, which have to be monitored very closely by the therapist. Sometimes it may even be necessary to stop the therapy, at least for now, and resume it at a later date. The so-called qualitative research methodology is relatively difficult in music therapy in direct comparison to other sciences. This is due to the different reactions of each individual to music therapy. Nevertheless, so-called art-analog approaches are attempting to standardize processes in music therapy.

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