The Power of Music Therapy and How It Can Help Your Mental Health

The Power of Music Therapy and How It Can Help Your Mental Health

Music plays a powerful role in the lives of many all across the globe. Some individuals may turn to classical music to aid in study or concentration, just as others may turn to upbeat tempos to enhance endurance and motivation during a workout. Meanwhile, when an individual is at a loss for naming or identifying personal thoughts and emotions, they may turn to relatable lyrics, melodies, or general genres of music to help describe what they are thinking, feeling, and experiencing. The power of music influences much more than an individual’s present mood. However, it can also aid in healing and recovery by strengthening mental health and overall wellness. 

At Avalon Malibu, music therapy is just one of the many treatment modalities we offer for clients seeking recovery from addiction, trauma, and other mental health disorders. Our facility believes in the power of expressive arts and other experiential tools to aid in healing, placing focus on our clients’ potential rather than the pathology of their diagnosis. By engaging in music therapy and other forms of self-expression during treatment, our clients will not only achieve lasting symptom management but also work to strengthen lasting fulfillment in recovery. 

Recognizing the Power of Music for Mental Wellness

To understand the power of music therapy for mental health, it is first important to recognize how music can directly affect the brain. As explained by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), “Performing or listening to music activates a variety of structures in the brain that are involved in thinking, sensation, movement, and emotion.” Not only can music influence strong emotional reactions and connections, but it can also evoke powerful memories and promote social bonds. As a result of such brain stimulation, music has also been shown to improve motor skills, strengthen the immune system, and improve physical symptoms and conditions – as noted by Brain, Behavior, & Immunity – Health. 

What Is Music Therapy?

Because of the numerous, well-researched benefits that music can bring to one’s physical and mental health in daily life, many treatment centers incorporate music into treatment and recovery through an approach known as music therapy. According to NCCIH, “Music therapy is a health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs.” Led by a music therapist, music therapy involves the deliberate use of music-based interventions to address unique, individualized needs and personalized recovery goals. Some of the activities used in music therapy include, but are not limited to:

  • Songwriting
  • Music improvisation
  • Listening to music
  • Performing musical pieces, such as singing or playing an instrument
  • Learning through music

Addressing the Power of Music Therapy in Treatment and Recovery

Similar to the benefits of engaging with music in daily life, music therapy provides both physical and mental health benefits. As noted by the aforementioned journal Brain, Behavior, & Immunity – Health, “Studies on patients diagnosed with mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia have shown a visible improvement in their mental health after general music and Music therapy interventions.” More specifically, music therapy may help to relieve the intensity of mental health symptoms while improving mood, strengthening interpersonal relationships, and fostering motivation throughout treatment and recovery. 

Additionally, NCCIH highlights the value of music therapy for treating uncomfortable or unpleasant symptoms caused by chronic pain, autism spectrum disorder (ASD), cognitive impairments, chronic diseases like cancer, and more. For instance, those struggling with chronic diseases may endure existential anxiety and distress that impedes their ability to function well in daily life. Music therapy can help alleviate such distress, decrease anxiety, and improve emotional well-being by providing an effective way to convey personal emotions and allow people to come together in a meaningful way to cope with shared discomfort. 

It is also important to recognize that, in addition to providing benefits for overall mental wellness, music therapy can also enhance treatment engagement and overall commitment to recovery. The Journal of Addictions Nursing explains that, particularly for individuals in treatment for substance abuse and addiction, “[M]usic therapy is positively related to a willingness to participate in SUD treatment.” Thus, music therapy can help to prevent relapse by providing clients with ongoing opportunities for self-reflection, expression, and connectivity. 

Achieving Mental Clarity Through Music Therapy With Avalon Malibu

At Avalon Malibu, music therapy is utilized as a tool for treating behavioral, emotional, and mental health concerns. We offer music therapy to help reduce stress and lower anxiety levels while improving mental wellness and functioning throughout the treatment journey. By listening to, discussing, singing, songwriting, and dancing to music, our clients are able to access internal tools that are necessary for achieving treatment goals and fostering lasting healing from distressing symptoms. 

Those seeking recovery from chemical dependency, substance abuse, trauma, or other mental health symptoms that are impeding daily life can benefit from music therapy as a complementary approach to other evidence-based practices and approaches. When used alongside traditional forms of talk therapy, music therapy can strengthen personal motivation for healing while facilitating ongoing self-discovery, which is necessary for establishing a fulfilling life in recovery. 

The power of music is not to be disregarded. It can aid in self-expression, helping individuals to put their thoughts and feelings into lyrics and melodies. Additionally, it can promote emotional regulation and well-being by alleviating uncomfortable physical and mental symptoms associated with various mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Further, in the context of treatment and recovery for substance use disorder and other behavioral and mental health concerns, music therapy can enhance treatment engagement, strengthen interpersonal relationships, and promote social connectivity. At Avalon Malibu, music therapy is one of the many expressive modalities we incorporate into our various rehabilitation programs. To learn more, contact us today at (844) 857-5992

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