Music is deeply interconnected to our lives, and our favorite songs are often a representation of our emotions and experiences. The power of music and its importance in our lives can be seen in a long history of mixtapes, the first dance at a wedding, and teenage angst. However, music can go beyond a reflection of your mood and different eras of your life. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we provide an alternative approach to healing that focuses on your specific recovery needs. Through customizable treatment plans, you can address the core root of your self-destructive behaviors with experiential therapies like music therapy.

What Is Music Therapy?

According to the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), music therapy uses music interventions to help set and achieve individualized goals for healing through the therapeutic client-clinician relationship. Through music therapy, your clinician can utilize music interventions to support the following:

  • Wellness
  • Stress management
  • Emotional expression
  • Improve communication and memory
  • Reduce physical and psychological pain

As noted by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), music therapy is not a specific intervention but rather includes a variety of music-based interventions. Some of the various music-based interventions that can support your well-being in music therapy include:

  • Listening to music
    • Relaxation
      • Reduces stress
      • Decreased anxiety
    • Reflect on emotions, memories, and experiences
  • Songwriting
    • Utilize instruments and or write lyrics to explore difficult thoughts and feeling
  • Lyric discussion
    • Discuss the meaning of different song lyrics
    • Reflect on the connection to your life, experiences, and or emotions
  • Musical improvisation
    • Fosters self-expression
  • Music performance
    • Provides an outlet for self-expression
  • Movement to music
    • Foot tapping, head bobbing, or dance
      • Form of self-expression
      • Fosters mind-body connection between your emotions and physical symptoms
  • Participating in music games and lessons
    • Structured support addresses specific goals for healing

Through music interventions, you can learn how to express difficult-to-access experiences and emotions in healthy ways. It can be difficult to talk or think about traumatic experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Challenges addressing your distress can lead to difficulties with mental health symptoms and unhealthy behaviors like substance misuse.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

How Does Music Affect Mental Health?

In general, music can be a powerful tool for self-expression and catharsis to explore difficult emotions. For example, many singers, musicians, and songwriters use music to express their happiness, sadness, and anger, to name a few. Through music, you can express yourself and find connections and self-understanding through other people’s work.

Interventions in music therapy can help you express and work through challenging feelings and experiences. As noted in Brain, Behavior, and Immunity – Health, music can help alleviate distressing symptoms in disorders like depression and anxiety. Being able to express and process your distress through music effectively gives you a healthier outlet. With healthier coping skills, you can heal from unhealthy coping strategies like substance misuse.

What to Expect During Music Therapy Sessions

Most music therapy sessions happen as a support in individual therapy. However, you can also participate in group music therapy sessions. Music therapy is made up of a variety of music-based interventions so that each session can look different. Thus, your music therapy sessions can be structured and unstructured, depending on your needs.

In a structured session, your clinician may provide instructions to guide you through the session. For example, your clinician might ask you to consider what emotions arise when you hear certain songs or lyrics. Whereas in an unstructured session, you take a more active role in your engagement with the music. For instance, in an unstructured session, you may let your emotions direct how you respond and engage.

Through individualized support, you and your clinician can build a plan of care that matches your specific needs and goals for healing. In music therapy, you do not need prior skill in playing an instrument, singing, or writing. There is also no specific style or genre of music that is universally more therapeutic or must be used in music therapy. How you experience and are affected by music is unique, so your preferences, needs, and goals determine the type of music used in your sessions. What you do during a music therapy session can differ based on your long-term goals and what has happened that week.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

Combining Music With Other Treatments

As an intervention, music therapy can be used in combination with therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Music therapy focuses on managing and relieving emotional distress like depression and anxiety. On the other hand, CBT is a type of talk therapy that focuses on dismantling unhealthy thinking patterns and building healthy coping skills to deal with distress more effectively.

However, it can be challenging to use skills learned in CBT effectively when you are overwhelmed by your distress. Overwhelming distress can make it difficult to think about and talk about unhealthy thinking and behavior patterns. Therefore, music therapy can be an effective support tool to help you engage in self-expression and deepen your understanding of yourself. As Medicines state, “Where words fail, music speaks,” thus, music-based interventions provide space to dismantle the roots of unhealthy behavior for true healing.

Music Therapy at Exclusive Hawaii Rehab

Whether you are dealing with addiction, a mental health disorder, or both, we offer a wide range of therapy options best suited to meet your specific needs. At Exclusive Hawaii Rehab, we know you are more than your challenges, and recovery is not a one-size-fits-all process. Thus, you deserve treatment that supports whole-person healing to build a fulfilling foundation for a balanced life. Access to experiential therapies like music therapy compliments psychotherapy as an immersive and hands-on approach that allows you to unlock the roots of your challenges.