Music Therapy as an Additional Means of Psychotherapy


Music therapy is a complementary means in psychotherapy and helps prepare patients for complex therapies and interventions. Music can be used in the course of treatment and rehabilitation of both children and adults suffering from somatic and mental illnesses. Systemic use of music applies to the treatment of physiological and psychosocial aspects of the disease or disorder. Among other things, music therapy can be used as a means of optimizing the creative powers of nurses.

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Physiological Reactions to Music Therapy

The use of music in therapy is an interdisciplinary approach to healthcare, which has the attributes of neuroscience, psychology, reflexology, music psychology, musicology, and others. In the second half of the XX century, the technical possibilities have increased significantly, which enabled studying the physiological reactions occurring in the body during music perception. It turned out that the music actively affects the vital functions of all physiological systems, the intensity of various physiological processes, respiration, and the cardiovascular system, blood circulation, and leads to certain important biochemical and hormonal changes (Dogan and Senturan 165).

The music therapist, as a rule, uses music as part of other therapeutic interventions to address the physical, emotional, communicative, and cognitive needs of the patient (Gutgsell et al. 825). Music therapists frequently work in hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, and other healthcare institutions.

Modes of the Therapy

It has been researched that music acts on the parasympathetic nervous system as a natural fuse of the body by averting its twin. The patients experience the respiratory and cardiac rhythms slowing due to the lowered level of the arterial tension and muscular decompression (Dogan and Senturan 167). There are three common modes of music therapy, which are receptive, active, and integrative. Receptive music therapy (passive) implies that patients are not directly involved in the music session. They have to listen to different music pieces or sounds that correspond to their mental state and the course of treatment.

The active mode of music therapy is based on emotional and physical interaction with music pieces. Integrative music therapy facilitates other types of therapeutic interventions together with music. The mode should be selected individually and comply with the needs of patients. The intensity of interventions depends on the specific medical problems, as well as on other variables, including the availability of sufficient funds in the institution and the patient’s reciprocal reactions.

The results of Therapy for Different Groups of Patients

The use of music therapy shows positive results in pain release (for instance, post-operative, arthritic, or pregnancy-related). In psychiatry, music should be used as a mood regulator. Apart from that, it can be used for patients who have suffered a stroke or for those at the end of life.

Music therapy has shown considerable results with cancer patients regarding anxiety or depressive mood relief. When utilizing music therapy to facilitate child treatment, the nurses strive for a calming effect and emotional stimulation of the younger patients (Barry et al. 235). Also, it has a great influence on patients that are losing their cognitive autonomy. In this case, a nurse can apply the following processes: respond, recognize, recall, reflect, and revision through music. The processes are progressive; nonetheless, they mildly provoke the patient’s responses.

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The described nonpharmacological intervention permits medical, rehabilitative, and educational solutions (if the patient is a child). The application of this approach is aimed at exploring how the combination of medical and psychotherapeutic methods of the controlled musical intervention can enhance the nursing outcomes in a variety of settings.

Works Cited

Barry, Philippa, Clare O’Callaghan, Greg Wheeler and Denise Grocke. “Music Therapy CD Creation for Initial Pediatric Radiation Therapy: A Mixed Methods Analysis.” Journal of Music Therapy 47.3 (2010): 233-263. Print.

Dogan, Meltem Vizeli and Leman Senturan. “The Effect of Music Therapy on the Level of Anxiety in the Patients Undergoing Coronary Angiography.” Open Journal of Nursing 2.3 (2012): 165-169. Print.

Gutgsell, Kathy Jo, Mark Schluchter, Seunghee Margevicius, Peter A. DeGolia, Beth McLaughlin, Mariel Harris, Janice Mecklenburg and Clareen Wiencek. “Music Therapy Reduces Pain in Palliative Care Patients: A Randomized Controlled Trial.” Journal of Pain and Symptom Management, 45 (2013): 822-831. Print.

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