Interested in How Music Therapy Can Help People Deal With Trauma?

Uncover the Science Behind How Music Therapy Positively Affects How We Handle Trauma

The benefits of music therapy are practically endless. Music therapy is an excellent resource for individuals of all ages and for people interested in addressing a myriad of different psychological or physiological issues. One area in which music therapy is a particularly helpful resource is in allowing individuals to address different kinds of traumatic experiences that they may be struggling to cope with. 

Music therapy can be used to offer assistance to individuals who are searching for coping mechanisms or other resources to help them handle post-traumatic stress disorder, psychological trauma, and/or physical trauma.

Here are the ways that this blog post will address music therapy and trauma:

  • How can music therapy help people handle post-traumatic stress disorder?
  • How can music therapy help people handle other psychologically traumatic experiences?
  • How can music therapy help people handle physically traumatic experiences?
Close up photo of a pair of black headphones around a woman's neck
The combined effects of reduced stress, increased happiness—and so much more!—that music therapy offers is well suited to individuals looking to address trauma.

How can music therapy help people handle post-traumatic stress disorder?

Many of the existing methods for treating post-traumatic stress disorder are not readily available for most people. Aside from the fact that these forms of treatment are difficult to gain access to, they also often require a significant time commitment if you want to see results. Treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder also require one to find a doctor with incredibly specialized clinical training in the field. With many forms of treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder, the patient also has to recall the traumatic events during a session, so it can become emotionally taxing for the patient. 

Music therapy is a great alternative to these treatment methods which are  more costly and less accessible. Music therapy also works to relieve stress, while most treatment plans for post traumatic stress (like exposure therapy for example) can cause extreme distress in patients. In one medical paper music therapy is described as being a “more accessible and less stigmatizing therapeutic option for treating posttraumatic stress” than most other forms of treatment are. If you are struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, you should consider seeking out more information on music therapy. Music therapy can provide a tranquil and restorative environment for one to examine themselves in, making it a great resource for anyone struggling to address trauma. 

Close up photo of hands playing an electric bass guitar
Not only does listening to or analyzing music have positive effects on people struggling with trauma, but so does actually playing and even composing your own music.

How can music therapy help people handle other psychologically traumatic experiences?

Some of the most effective methods of music therapy are improvisation and composition . This helps individuals recognize the emotions they are struggling with, so that they can work towards processing them. There are many testimonies out there which  showcase support of music therapy in the treatment of trauma.

The interventions for people dealing with trauma are only further accentuated by the stress-relief that patients experience when engaging with music therapy. The stress free environment encourages the expression of emotions that are difficult to process and offers patients certain coping mechanisms that they may not have discovered otherwise.   

black and white close up image of the needle of a record player
Finding the right kind of music that can help one relax and find a place of happiness when listening to it is a wonderful coping mechanism for someone handling trauma to have access to. 

How can music therapy help people handle physically traumatic experiences?

Especially in situations where an individual is facing physically traumatic experiences (for example individuals who have been in war zones, or struggled through extreme natural disasters), music therapy can help to address these nonverbal concerns through nonverbal means. Being able to engage with music on a physical and tangible level can be incredibly cathartic for patients. 

This physical outlet also offers the opportunity for emotional release with less uncomfortability for an individual, and it can provide an increased sense of control over one’s own situation. There are so many ways that music therapy is being used to address all kinds of traumatic experiences that individuals of all ages may be working to cope with. Whether it is addressing a history of violence that has left traumatic memories, or some other kind of traumatic experience that affected an individual physically, music therapy is an incredible resource in addressing those symptoms.  

Music therapy allows you to express the emotions you may have been struggling  with, which couldn’t be tackled through dialogue or other therapeutic methods. Music therapy offers a low stress environment for patients. This allows you to let your guard down and work through the emotions that you may not have been comfortable speaking about in other settings. It’s a wonderful option for those dealing with traumatic memories.

There are plenty of online options and resources for you to look into if you are interested in learning more about music therapy. Contact Incadence for further information.

Edited by Cara Jernigan on January 24, 2021.

Lily Taggart
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