The Benefits of Music Therapy

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, recovery is a holistic endeavor that encompasses your physical and mental health, self-care, faith, creativity, spirituality and social networks.

No single treatment plan is right for every individual, and any high-quality treatment plan will offer an array of supports and services that ensure a holistic approach to treatment. Ideally, these should include a variety of alternative and complementary therapies such as acupuncture, meditation, biofeedback, art therapy and music therapy.

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapists are licensed and credentialed professionals who have a degree in music therapy and have completed 1,200 hours of clinical training. According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapists draw on research-based interventions to address the variety of physical, cognitive, social and emotional needs of someone in recovery.

Different activities conducted in a music therapy session address different aspects of recovery. During a session, participants may engage in any number of music-related activities, including:

  • Listening to music for inspiration or relaxation
  • Analyzing song lyrics
  • Writing songs as a form of self-expression
  • Creating music with instruments or voice
  • Moving to music to reduce feelings of anxiety, depression, stress and anger

Around 15 percent of addiction treatment programs include music therapy in their roster of treatment therapies, and that number is ever-growing. That's because music therapy helps people in recovery in a number of ways.

Benefits of Music Therapy

According to a study published in the Journal of Addictions Nursing, music therapy is associated with a higher level of engagement in treatment and stronger motivation to change.Participants needn't have a musical background to enjoy the benefits of music therapy, which include:

  • Helping people in recovery identify and work through emotions that may be too complex to address in traditional talk therapy.
  • Helping people achieve and maintain positive emotional states.
  • Helping people work through self-esteem issues and increase self-efficacy.
  • Reducing stress and promoting relaxation.
  • Helping group members find common ground and identify with one another, strengthening the group as a unit.
  • Opening communication pathways and helping to foster meaningful personal change.

Perhaps most importantly, music therapy promotes a higher level of creative thinking and self-expression, and it increases self-awareness—all of which are crucial foundations of recovery.

A Holistic Approach to Recovery

The issues behind addiction are highly complex and related to mind, body and spirit. If you're suffering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol and are ready to get the help you need to enjoy long-term sobriety, choose a high-quality, holistic program that draws on both traditional and alternative research-based therapies.

This approach to treatment promotes a higher level of self-identity and fosters a stronger sense of purpose in life. Getting the help you need through a holistic program will help you end your addiction and dramatically improve your quality of life and your overall sense of wellbeing.

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