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Music Therapy

Music therapy involves the use of different types of music to help people realize their individual goals by a qualified professional who has undertaken a type of musical therapy program. These goals can and generally include therapeutic goals such as motor skills, cognitive development, social and interpersonal development, spiritual enhancement and self-awareness. Music therapists are usually trained to help people in different areas of their profession. Such things as dealing with developmental work, songwriting, special needs, relaxation work, working with the elderly and physical rehabilitation in the form of rhythm entertainment are some of the areas dealt with.

The idea of working with music for healing purposes dates back to the Ancient Greek philosophers and early western history dictates that music played a crucial role in treating illnesses such as mental illnesses like melancholia. It was very useful as it was considered an expressive therapy.

In the United States, modern music therapy was born around 1944 where several universities started to integrate music as part of their academic scheduling. Several academies then proceeded to open such as the National Association for Music therapy in 1950. A music therapist from a specialist music therapy background that has a bachelor’s degree from a university can practice music therapy as a career. It is not necessary only to specialize in this type of therapy and can be used in conjunction with many other clinical fields such as social work and mental health counseling.

A music therapist will work in many different ways to help patients with healing processes. They will incorporate many clinical practices such as assessment, psychotherapy, rehabilitation and diagnosis. They must be fully trained and licensed to be able to practice music therapy on patients. Clinical training is often a requirement too and passing a nationally accredited certification exam to become a therapist

In the United Kingdom, historically music was used in hospitals during both world war periods. It was used as a feel-good factor for recovering soldiers. In modern times, Juliette Alvin first pioneered the form of music therapy for healing purposes in the 60s and 70s. Another approach was the Nordoff-Robbins approach to music therapy, which involved Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins during the 60s playing music to anyone and everyone who was recovering from some type of illness. They believed any kind of response from the patients was a good response. They also believed that no matter what type of patient they were and how ill they were, they would be able to respond somehow to music. It can support change, enhance communication and creativity. Nordoff-Robbins now run music therapy centers all over the world and have training and further education programs available to everyone.

It is important to remember that music therapy, as a healing process for illnesses and conditions is a type of complementary and alternative approach to healing. It should not be seen as a replacement for conventional medicine. Many people nowadays are turning to alternative medicines because they feel that they want a more natural approach. Such an approach may come out of choice for using natural products, or simply from not being successful with conventional methods. Music therapy can definitely aid the healing process by making patients feel good generally on a personal level, but there is little evidence to suggest it is beneficial in a physical sense. What may work for some may not work for others. Although this type of therapy is becoming more and more popular nowadays, one should consult a doctor or physician first for advice and further information. Such information can be found on the Internet too.


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