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What Are the Benefits of Music Therapy?

a man plays guitar in his music therapy program for addiction treatment

Recovering from substance abuse or mental illness can be a long road. Finding creative solutions to the hardships that come up during the healing process can make a big difference. While conventional treatment like talk therapy or medication may be needed for full recovery, holistic approaches often deliver something special. Complementary treatments like music therapy acknowledge the whole person and open healing pathways that tap the unconscious and facilitate self-expression.

If you or your loved one could benefit from such an approach, contact NuLife Recovery Services Massachusetts today. We’re available at 888.568.2057, or you can reach out online to learn more about the benefits of music therapy. We offer accredited programs in Massachusetts, Illinois, Indiana, and New Jersey.

What Are the Benefits of Music therapy?

In music therapy, clients may sing, play instruments, or respond to music that others created. No musical background is necessary to engage in music therapy, just an appreciation for at least one style of music. Music therapy is a proven technique for both mental health and substance abuse treatment, and it has many benefits, including:

  • Greater compassion – Those who receive music therapy are allowed to experience emotions and thoughts through an artistic lens. This level of removal from direct experience can help prevent feelings of overwhelm. It also generates greater understanding in the long term and thus allows for more compassion for self and others.
  • A sense of purpose – Especially when clients commit to a discipline like playing an instrument, they create focus going forward. This commitment can redirect them from negative self-talk or self-defeating behavior. It can also help build self-confidence, agency, and a sense of accomplishment.
  • Cooperation and collaboration – Many people struggling with substance abuse or mental illness feel isolated. Music, explored in any type of group setting, has the opposite effect. Making music with others can be especially powerful since it requires participants to work together toward a shared goal.
  • Mood stabilization – It’s common knowledge that music can bring about specific moods. By teaching clients to be conscious about what music they listen to or engage with, they gain the tools to modify their own emotional experience for the better. In a session, a client can also benefit from their therapist’s musical expertise and receive external regulation through sound.

How Does Music Therapy Help with Addiction?

Music’s healing capabilities in addiction recovery are especially impactful. Many people facing substance abuse deal with powerful cravings to start using again. This is especially true in early recovery. Music distracts from cravings and provides a kind of heatsink for excess energy that many feel during withdrawal.

Moreover, music therapy is effective in addiction treatment because it creates an accessible outlet for self-expression. Where self-expression may feel daunting or prompt shame or withdrawal when it’s done only verbally, music offers an alternative. Music lets clients get at their experience indirectly through melody, rhythm, tone, and other nonverbal elements. This provides a chance to learn and share with less pressure.

A skilled music therapist will also know how to tie in existing music compositions for clients’ benefit. They may, for example, play a song for a client and then ask them to respond to it. Therapists ask clients to tell them what certain lyrics mean to them or what theme or tone the song evokes. Responding to others’ work in this way can help clients develop their values and share personal experiences in time.

Finally, music therapy is shown to be effective on a purely scientific level. The powerful regulatory aspects of repeated rhythm and vibrations, in particular, can be very soothing for people in withdrawal. This is true because withdrawal causes nervous system disruption that music can mitigate by effectively resetting the body’s inner clock.

Get Help Through Music Therapy at NuLife Behavioral Health Today

If you could benefit from a music therapy program or want to learn more about other treatments, reach out today. The caring team at NuLife Behavioral Health is excited to tell you about our offerings in Massachusetts, Indiana, Illinois, and New Jersey and make a referral if needed. Call 888.568.2057 or fill out our online form to get started.