Reasons to look for a Pennsylvania rehab center that offers music therapy

Music therapy may not be as famous as CBT when it comes to substance abuse treatment, but that does not mean it is not extremely effective in its own right. In fact, music therapy has the potential to outshine all other forms of therapy, given the right circumstances. For example, music therapy for addiction has proven to be quite effective in managing withdrawal symptoms and preventing relapse. Aside from addiction treatment, music therapy is often used to treat depression, autism, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cardiac conditions. In this article, we will explain exactly what music therapy is, how it works, and provide you with a few reasons to look for a Pennsylvania rehab center that offers music therapy.

What is music therapy and how does it work?

To put it simply, music therapy pertains to the clinical use of music to help patients accomplish their individual goals. The most common goals that can be accomplished through music therapy involve reducing stress, self-expression, and mood improvement. Music therapy is also one of the evidence-based therapies that is well established in the health community.

a doctor
Music therapy is well established, evidence-based, form of therapy.

Music therapy has numerous variations, including singing, playing instruments, composing music, or simply listening to music. The exact nature of the therapy will depend on the patient’s individual needs. The best part about music therapy is that it absolutely does not require any musical skills whatsoever. This means that practically anyone can get the full benefits of music therapy. While music therapy is highly effective on its own, it is most often used in conjunction with other therapy types. This is why most of the top dual diagnosis treatment centers Pennsylvania has to offer are able to provide music therapy for their patients. That said, music therapy is still not as common as behavioral therapies such as CBT and DBT.

The way that music therapy works is by encouraging positive physiological behaviors. There are numerous techniques that facilitate this, such as active listening, writing songs and lyrics, dancing and movement, relaxation, and performance. Throughout these activities, patients learn to utilize positive physiological behaviors to manage and control their emotional issues. An example of this is when a therapist asks a patient to listen to a musical score and describe what they feel afterward. The simple act of describing their emotional responses is extremely helpful to patients that have difficulties expressing their feelings or focusing their attention.

Who is music therapy best suited for?

Music therapy knows no age, culture, or background. Everyone responds to music, and this goes the same for music therapy. However, some groups of people may benefit more from this therapy type than others. Notable groups include:

  • Substance abusers – For people with a substance abuse disorder, music therapy can provide increased motivation/self-esteem. Furthermore, this therapy type has the potential to reduce muscle tension, improve coping skills, and decrease anxiety.
  • Physically ill people – Music therapy can provide considerable relief to anyone who is physically ill, including cancer patients, people who have undergone recent surgery, people with chronic pain, people with headaches, etc.
  • Military service veterans/members – Music therapy was first used by the U.S. War Department in 1945 to help military service members recover from the trauma of war.
  • People with Alzheimer’s disease – People with Alzheimer’s will benefit from the memory-enhancing aspect of music therapy. Furthermore, the therapy will help stimulate the mind through the feeling of security, predictability, and familiarity.
  • People in correctional facilities – For incarcerated people, music therapy can provide enhanced problem-solving skills, relaxation, decreased impulsivity, and promote healthy communication skills.
  • Victims of trauma – Music therapy is excellent for helping people who suffer from anxiety, pain, and stress. Therefore, it is one of the best therapy types for people that experience trauma.
happy person, symbolizing the reason to look for a Pennsylvania rehab center that offers music therapy
Music therapy can considerably improve your mood.

While music therapy can take place practically anywhere, the most common settings are nursing homes, outpatient clinics, treatment centers, and similar. Music therapy is sometimes used in an inpatient setting as well, as part of inpatient alcohol rehab Pennsylvania programs. Furthermore, music therapists often visit juvenile detention facilities, private practices, and schools.

3 Reasons to look for a Pennsylvania rehab center that offers music therapy

Music therapy offers benefits in six different areas: Spiritual, cognitive, social, psychological, physical, and emotional. Each of these areas is a reason on its own why you may want to look for a Pennsylvania rehab center that offers music therapy. However, it is much easier to group all of the benefits into three distinct reasons:

  1. Physical benefits
  2. Mental benefits
  3. Stress relief

Furthermore, music therapy can provide an excellent way to manage substance abuse treatment. While it may not be suitable in every single case, music therapy will make a significant difference in the cases where patients are receptive to it. For example, almost every cocaine addiction treatment center in Pennsylvania includes music therapy as one of the therapy options. Aside from helping manage difficult withdrawal symptoms, music therapy considerably improves the mood of its patients, making them more receptive to other therapy types.

Physical benefits of music therapy

One of the most important aspects of music therapy is its ability to reduce pain. For people that are suffering from painful illnesses (e.g. cancer), music therapy can be something that keeps them going from one day to another. Of course, music therapy cannot replace pain medication but it can provide additional pain relief. This is done primarily by refocusing one’s attention from the pain to the activity of playing music, singing, or listening to music. Furthermore, music therapy can bring about numerous positive physiological changes, such as:

  • Relaxed muscle tension
  • Improved respiration
  • Reduced heart rate
  • Improved cardiac output
  • Lower blood pressure
person working out
Music therapy can’t replace working out but it brings a plethora of physical benefits.

Music therapy accomplished these effects through positive conditioning. The conditioning process involves pairing music therapy with deep relaxation. After a certain time period, the music alone will cue positive responses from the patients. As you can imagine, this approach can be beneficial in a large range of situations and ailments. It is why almost every Pennsylvania alcohol rehab facility at least considers introducing music therapy to their list of services. Another reason is that music therapy may play an important role in the therapeutic process through positive mood changes, visual imagery cues, and a rhythmic structure for the systematic release of body tension.

Mental benefits of music therapy

For many people, simply undergoing treatment can be a frightening (even terrifying) experience. Not to mention all of the reasons why they are in therapy in the first place. This mental pressure can quickly add up and compromise the entire treatment. While there may be a variety of ways to help deal with the mental pressure, music therapy may allow individuals to feel happy, calm, and even energetic. However, the music itself needs to match the patient’s own preferences. Most of the time, music therapy will involve music from the patient’s own culture, due to the fact that it may provide the patient with something familiar. Furthermore, different types of music have the potential to induce different feelings.

For example, rock music may lead to discomfort in many patients, while classical music usually leads to relaxation. However, this differs from one patient to another. Hard rock can be extremely beneficial for people undergoing benzo detox, for example. It can provide them with an energy boost they may need to go through the withdrawal stage. In fact, the fact that music therapy can allow patients to have more energy to focus on their treatment is one of the most important reasons to look for a Pennsylvania rehab center that offers music therapy.

energetic person, symbolizing one of the reasons to look for a Pennsylvania rehab center that offers music therapy
Music therapy can make you feel more energetic.

However, it is also important that the treatment center is proficient in utilizing music therapy. Many treatment centers consider music therapy to be “something they need to have”, and do not know how to utilize it properly. Music therapy, like any other form of therapy, requires highly-trained medical experts. It is not as simple as having someone listen to music.

Music therapy offers excellent stress relief

On its own, music is one of the best stress relievers out there. When utilized in a therapy setting, however, the stress relief capabilities are even higher. For most individuals, music is strongly linked to a variety of emotions. Therefore, simply listening to a certain song can induce happiness, calmness, or relaxation.

Consider how you feel when you start listening to your favorite song. Are you feeling happy? Are you feeling just a little bit lighter? Music has the power to change the way we think and feel. In fact, a recent COVID-19 study showed that listening to music during difficult times considerably improves overall mood, especially in people who experienced increased stress levels (pretty much everyone). What this means is that you can use music to help regulate your emotions and even put yourself in a certain state of mind. If you want to be calm, listen to music that calms you, something like that.

What music therapy does is enhance all of these benefits by tailoring the effect toward a particular individual. A music therapist will create music “interventions” to help the patient in need. This may include having the patient listen to music, create their own music, or any other musical activity. Of course, there is a lot more to music therapy than that, but that is the basic idea.

Other benefits of music therapy

Aside from these three reasons, there are many more situations in which music therapy may be beneficial. Here are some of the most notable examples:

  • Music therapy has the potential to decrease end-of-life suffering
  • Music therapy may help cancer patients cope with their treatment
  • Music therapy may improve functioning in people with Parkinson’s disease
  • Music therapy may support dementia treatment
person undergoing an acupuncture treatment
Music therapy can support various treatment types.

Do note that, in these cases, music therapy is complementary. Coupled with other treatment modalities, music therapy has the ability to enhance motor function and communication. This can be especially useful in a marijuana rehab center, for example. Furthermore, it may also improve the quality of life and enable proper communication. In fact, expression through music therapy is one of the most important aspects.

Music therapy at Little Creek Recovery

At Little Creek Recovery, we encourage and support our residents in their creative endeavors. For us, music therapy is an essential part of the treatment process. This is why we have an entire music studio where our patients can record and make music to their heart’s content. Of course, we have a number of music therapists on staff that can guide and direct you through the process. Our music therapists have all graduated from an accredited university, taken the national examination administered by the CBMT (Certification Board for Music Therapists), and possess all the necessary credentials for professional practice. Whether you are planning on enrolling in a long term drug rehab Pennsylvania program or are attending outpatient treatment, you can count on our therapists to provide you with the best possible options.

Our music therapists work closely with our patients to figure out individual objectives and goals before creating an individualized music therapy program. Furthermore, they work hand-in-hand with the rest of our professional medical staff to ensure that our clients enjoy the best possible course of treatment. The simple ability to creatively express yourself when you are in a strange emotional place is what makes music therapy a worthy addition to any treatment center. At Little Creek Recovery, we go a step further by providing our patients with all the necessary tools to express themselves through music in a wide variety of ways. In addition, we also provide other complementary forms of therapy, such as art therapy.

Ultimately, the reason why you may want to look for a Pennsylvania rehab center that offers music therapy is that, through music therapy, you will be able to strengthen your abilities, learn new ones, and create a positive change in your life!

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