Music Therapy and Trauma

Music and Trauma

Those familiar with the benefits and applications of music therapy typically understand how music can help with learning disabilities, cognitive decline and early intervention. Perhaps not so obvious is the role music can play in the treatment of trauma and clients suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

When music is introduced as a form of treatment for PTSD and trauma related illnesses, both physiological and psychological benefits are possible. A music therapist can use music to help mitigate physical symptoms related to trauma, such as blood pressure levels, heart rate and muscle tension. Psychological symptoms that can be influenced by music include anxiety, irritability, isolation and flashbacks.

The safe and therapeutic environment that a music therapist can provide while in a session allows clients to process past trauma by empowering individuals with a sense of control. Through the music, individuals can express feelings and vulnerabilities. Activities such as music making and listening, improvisation, lyric analysis, music-assisted relaxation and songwriting can be done in either an individual session or within a group setting.

Because trauma can occur throughout the lifespan and can be experienced through a variety of different ways, individuals who sustain trauma are a diverse population. From premature infants in the NICU, to veterans, to serving the community in the aftermath of a violent event or crisis, music therapy can be used in a variety of treatment settings.

Goals are individualized but all are designed to be supportive and therapeutic, and will involve live and recorded music. Some of the most common goals are to reduce anxiety or isolation, improve overall mood, increase relaxation, develop coping skills and increase sense of control, to name a few.

If you have experienced trauma, or work with individuals  experiencing PTSD, and would like to learn more about how music can help, please contact our office and speak to someone today.