Research indicates that music therapy is effective in reducing muscle tension and anxiety, and at promoting relaxation, verbalization, interpersonal relationships, and group cohesiveness. This can set the stage for open communication and provide a starting place for non-threatening support and processing symptoms associated with, or exacerbated by, trauma and disaster, such as the 9/11 event.
A therapist can talk with a client, but a qualified music therapist can use music to actively link a client to their psycho-emotional state quickly. In certain settings, the active use of music therapy interventions has resulted in a shorter length of stay (treatment period) and more efficient response to the client’s overall intervention plan.
Patient attendance rates and perceptions of the music therapy were collected at the end of each music therapy session by means of an anonymous survey, and only data from each patient’s first survey were used in the analysis.
Twenty-four surveys were analyzed, representing feedback from 10 men and 14 women, aged between 18 and 52 years. The results indicated that enjoyment and motivation to participate during the sessions was uniformly high.
The majority of participants reported that they would attend another music therapy session, and almost half (46%) endorsed that ‘(music therapy) would help them to feel more a part of the group. Additional analyses revealed that music therapy was able to engage patients regardless of their age group (25 years and under vs. over-25 years) or substance (alcohol only vs. other drugs).
Four different studies found reduced depression symptoms in participants receiving music therapy. The fifth study did not find any difference. The benefits of music appeared greatest when providers used theory-based therapeutic techniques rather than “winging it.”
“In the four studies where there was an impact, there was a very coherent theoretical framework, a very coherent explanation of what went on in the session and obvious reasons why the therapists were there, “said lead author Anna Maratos. “In the study that showed no effect, there didn’t seem to be any theoretical underpinning to the intervention. We have no idea why the therapist was there, really.”