Music is an important part of most of our lives. So important, in fact, that it has a very definite impact on short-term mood and cognitive ability. Over years of research, it has been learned that the effects of music on the mind and body are profound enough that it can be harnessed for a number of therapeutic purposes. Among them are treatments for substance abuse, compulsive behaviours, and emotional issues such as depression and anxiety.
Most countries in the West now recognise music therapy as a legitimate medical profession practised by licenced professionals who have been trained in the therapeutic use of music. Licenced therapists spend years studying the effects of music on the mind and body along with strategies to effectively use music to accomplish individualised goals based on need.
We know from first-hand experience that music therapy is very useful in the kinds of treatments we offer. Like art therapy, music therapy gives our clients an avenue of expression that can help them better communicate those things that trouble them. It also enhances other treatments by promoting relaxation, mental calm, and introspection.
Different Uses for Music Therapy
Music is such a powerful therapeutic tool that there are literally dozens of ways it can be used to help our clients. If you were to visit any of our rehab clinics, you would observe music being used in multiple ways at any given time. From formal counselling sessions to the ambient music being played to create a relaxing atmosphere, it is everywhere.
In a formal setting, music may be used to:
Encourage Expression – It can be very difficult for people in recovery to verbalise what they are thinking and feeling in a group setting. Fear is a big factor here. Music can be used to reduce that fear, thus leading to a greater ability toward verbal self-expression.
Calm the Nerves – Recovery and rehab can be a very troubling emotional experience in the first few days of a residential programme. When nerves are raw and emotion runs high, music is a great tool to create a much-needed calming effect. Once patients are calm and relaxed, they are more open to other therapies.
Encourage Creativity – Often, those in recovery struggle to find an outlet for those energies they used to put into their addictive behaviours. Music provides an outlet that can help focus the patient’s attention while in treatment, and provide a long-term outlet upon leaving the residential facility.
Improving Cognisance – Those who come to UKAT for help almost always have limited cognitive function as a result of their troubles. Believe it or not, music has the unique ability to help clear the fog and refocus the mind. Improving cognisance is one of the most exciting uses of music therapy.
We have found that the most effective use of music in a formal setting is to help control moods. How well a person responds emotionally to treatment is a determining factor in the eventual outcome of that treatment, so keeping moods calm and relaxed is imperative to maintaining a therapeutic recovery setting.
After Residential Treatment
Our use of music as a therapy does not end with residential treatment. Rather, we equip our clients to continue using music as a therapeutic tool for as long as is necessary for their journey to permanent recovery. After formal treatment, music can be applied to the following:
Alleviating Boredom – Among alcoholics and drug addicts, boredom is one of the leading factors contributing to relapse. Those in recovery simply have too much time and nothing to do with it. We teach them to use music as a tool for preventing boredom that would otherwise lead to relapse.
Managing Stress – Stress is another trigger that can easily lead to relapse. Again, patients are encouraged to use music on a regular basis as a stress reliever.
Managing Loneliness – It often takes a bit of time to reintegrate recovering addicts into society due to the damage done by their previous behaviours. In the interim, loneliness can set in. We don’t want loneliness to lead to relapse, so we teach patients how to use music to relieve loneliness.
From time to time, we help clients who turn out to be very talented in the arena of music. The existence of such talent creates opportunities a therapist can use to provide meaning and purpose to the patient. For example, a patient who demonstrates a talent for writing can be encouraged to pursue that writing during and after treatment. Even if compositions are never published, the process of creating music still gives the recovering individual meaning and purpose.
Combining Music with Other Therapies
Music therapy (and its art therapy counterpart) can be amazingly helpful in helping our clients. But music alone will rarely be enough to successfully treat substance abuse, addiction, and mental or emotional issues. Therefore, we combine music with other therapies to offer patients a complete compendium of care.
If you are visiting our website because you suspect you need professional treatment, the treatment plan we develop for you will depend on your unique circumstances. By contacting us, you will be giving us the opportunity to conduct a thorough assessment of your current situation. We use a series of targeted questions based on scientifically proven standards to determine the scope and seriousness of what you are dealing with.
Once we know where you stand, we can then walk you through the various treatment facilities and therapies offered in your local area. If there is nothing suitable close by, no worries. We have treatment options available throughout the UK to meet any need.
Ultimately, you have the final say about what kind of treatments you receive and where you will receive them. If you require further assistance arranging for admission to one of our treatment programmes, our trained counsellors can provide it to you. The number one goal of UKAT is to assist those struggling with addiction or mental or emotional issues in finding and accessing the treatments they need.
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