Outcomes, Benefits, and Drawbacks of Music Therapy

What are the Pros and Cons of Music Therapy?

Image courtesy of Pinterest.

Many therapies can help individuals improve their emotional Improve children’s behavior, growth, social skills, and motor control. When a schedule is in place, children know what is coming next and what is expected of them. This naturally lessens their anxiety.

Music therapy is no exception to these benefits. Some may say music therapy goes a step beyond normal therapies by helping to change the brain. Music can retrain certain cognitive abilities and promote behavioral changes. But, as great as this all sounds, music therapy does have its cons. Music does have a powerful impact on our emotions and our physical health, but is that always a good thing? This article will discuss:

  • Cons of music therapy
  • Pros of music therapy 
  • How to decide if music therapy is right for you and how Incadence can help

Cons of Music Therapy

What Are Some Disadvantages to Music Therapy?

Now you may be wondering why one would begin with cons rather than pros. This is because the article should end on a high note and leave you in awe about the helpfulness of music therapy! Now, music therapy has many benefits both clinically and in general, but music is not a cure all as many might think. There are a few problems that can be caused and created by music therapy. These problems include:

  • Overstimulation - There are a lot of factors in regards to the sound behind music. These factors include the volume, acoustics, type of instruments used, and many others. Sound and music connect profoundly with stimulation. Stimulation referring to the physiological state of a person a.k.a. heartbeat, movement, blood flow, respiratory rate, etc. When someone is overstimulated by music, this may mean that the volume is too loud or the bass thump that can be felt in your chest is too overwhelming. This type of overstimulation is especially harmful for babies in the NICU. This can cause feelings of discomfort, agitation, and neurological stress. 
  • Memory Triggering - Music is second only to smell in its ability to incite unwanted memories. This can be traced back to an evolutionary connection to process sound quickly as a survival method. While memory triggering can sometimes create moments of lucidity in patients suffering from Dementia, this can be harmful to patients suffering from PTSD who do not want to relive certain memories. 
  • Anxiety - While in some cases music may help ease anxiety disorders, in others it may cause or increase anxiety. The wrong music can cause distress and heightened anxiety in Alzheimer’s patients.The lyrics can have a huge impact on the mental state of the client the therapist is treating. Certain lyrics can represent a negative mindset and can overall increase a person’s sadness overtime. This is especially daunting in patients suffering from Depression. 
Hearing a certain song, artist, or genre can induce negative responses physically and psychologically. Image courtesy of HelpGuide.

Pros of Music Therapy

What are Some Benefits of Music Therapy?

Continuing on a more positive note, music therapy has many benefits that set it aside from other types of therapies. Music therapy not only has the ability to reduce physical discomfort but can also reduce stress caused by many mental health issues. Here is a list of benefits that sets music therapy aside from other conventional therapy options:

  • Motivation - This may seem like a fairly intuitive concept for many people. If you add music to any task, this will likely increase the motivation to complete that task. Music increases motivation as well as increased attention span, improved mood, longevity, and overall increased skill acquisition. This motivation factor with the promise of an attractive experience is especially enticing to children. Music therapy can help a child become more excited about learning, talking, moving, and interacting with others. Music speaks to children and they are overcome with a sense to create it.
  • Promotion of Growth - Music has the ability to access many different areas of the brain. This access allows the client to elicit many behavioral changes that contribute to a more positive mental state. Music can also regulate the activity of brain regions that initiation and modulation of emotions. Also, listening to music has been shown to lower the need for opiate drugs in postoperative pain and other medical treatments. In Autistic patients, music therapy has been shown to improve social interactions, verbal and nonverbal communication, and social-emotional reciprocity. 
  • Music for the Heart - Listening to music has been shown to improve blood pressure levels and lower heart rates. Music is also great for individuals who are predisposed or already have cardiovascular issues. 
  • Enhancement of Fetal Development - Music helps the child to be more responsive after birth. Music also helps to reduce and maintain a steady heart rate, increase feeding rates, help the fetus gain weight, and induce them into a deeper sleep. Music influences positive neonatal behavior. 
Children are susceptible to many stressful situations when growing up. Music can encourage communication and self-expression allowing a child to deal with stress in a healthy way. Image courtesy of PostivePsychology.

Music therapists will work with you to identify your strengths and needs; this will improve your overall health and well-being. Image courtesy of University of Utah

Deciding if Incadence is Right for You

How to Know if Music Therapy is the Right Fit

It is an unattested fact that music has the ability to grab our attention while also distracting us from certain stimuli that can lead to negative behavior. Music therapy’s pros greatly outweigh the cons and has been proven to help everyone who needs it. Incadence’s music therapy services are specially personalized and adjusted to fit each individual’s needs. 

They take into account the areas of need as well as the individual’s abilities. They will then match you with a board-certified music therapist who will always integrate your needs, beliefs, values, and priorities into each session. Absolutely no musical skill or ability is necessary when participating in Incadence’s music therapy sessions. If you are unsure if Incadence or music therapy is the right option for you, don’t be afraid to reach out. Incadence is just a phone call away!

Haley Wisniewski
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