While individual therapy and group therapy sessions are undoubtedly critical to any substance abuse treatment program, many facilities (including Serenity Acres) are expanding their services to offer a variety of more unconventional and holistic therapies. Some of these, such as yoga, meditation, and massage, are fairly well-known, and the benefits are somewhat intuitive. After all, many people utilize these activities regardless of having an addiction, as they are known to provide considerable mental and physical health benefits. However, some lesser known therapies can be just as beneficial. One such therapy is music therapy.
What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is a form of treatment that dates back to the 1970s. Proponents say that it can help patients to access hidden emotions, thoughts, or feelings, that they may not even be aware of, or that have simply been buried under layers of addiction and sickness. They say that finding yourself in the recovery process is like peeling away the layers of an onion, and music therapy is said to be able to assist in this process. Musical background is not a requirement! According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), “Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” Music therapy can include creating, moving to, singing along with, or just listening to music. This is fairly believable when you consider the effect music can have in your daily life. Most people can hear a certain song and feel certain emotions that are tied along to that song or a related memory. And music can also change your mood- who hasn’t listened to a certain kind of music depending on their mood at the time? The AMTA reports that music therapy has been proven to help with movement and physical rehabilitation, increase patient motivation to engage in treatment, provide emotional support, and create an outlet for expressing feelings or thoughts.
There is a wide range of research that has been done in support of music therapy, but a few interesting studies have summarized the available data, and are worth noting. One review article (Winkelman et al., 2003) looked specifically at drumming as a specific form of music therapy. It found that drumming can support recovery and healing through relaxing the patient, and creating positive waves and signals in the brain. Programs known as “Drumming Out Drugs” can heighten awareness of unconscious thoughts or emotions, release emotional trauma, help the patient to “find themselves”, reduce loneliness/self-centeredness/alienation, help the patient to connect to themselves and others, access a “higher power,” and overall, create pleasurable experiences. Another review article (Aletraris et al., 2014) which evaluated studies of music therapy in general reported that music therapy can create positive emotional change, reduce anxiety, depression, anger, and stress, and can increase willingness to participate in treatment.
While music therapy is still fairly novel and not utilized in the majority of substance abuse treatment programs, the results clearly show that it can be of a real benefit to those who are trying to recover from an addiction. All it requires is an open mind!
Help is Available
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, the professional staff at Serenity Acres is ready to help. Call today for your free confidential assessment, to see if inpatient treatment may be the answer you are looking for: 1-800-203-2024.