Music Therapy: A Complementary Health Treatment Therapy
A music therapist uses music to calm the person and to gain their trust; building a relationship is essential to the healing process. After a relationship is established, the therapist creates an activity plan which works the physical and mental functions of the client. Some examples of these activities could be listening, singing, composing, playing, and moving to music; imagery is a commonly used tool as well (FAQ's about Musical Therapy, 1999). Children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer's disease and other aging related conditions, substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic pain, including mothers in labor can all benefit from music therapy. Since music therapists work in psychiatric hospitals, rehabilitative facilities, medical hospitals, outpatient clinics, day care treatment centers, agencies serving developmentally disabled persons, community mental health centers, drug and alcohol programs, senior centers, nursing homes, hospice programs, correctional facilities, halfway houses, schools, and private practice. Thus making the ailability of treatments are easily attainable and in most cases a very short commute if time and transportation are an issue.
The therapist's training and education is very important and they must complete one of the approved college music therapy curricula (including an internship) are then eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Music therapists who successfully complete the independently administered examination hold the music therapist-board certified credential (MT-BC). The National Music Therapy Registry (NMTR) serves qualified music therapy professionals with the following designations: RMT, CMT, ACMT. These individuals have met accepted educational and clinical training standards and are qualified to practice music therapy. They use both their knowledge on the behavioral aspects of music and the strengths and weaknesses of the client to develop the musical intervention. Therapeutic goals are also used to track performance and progress during the therapy. Goal areas include emotional, motor, communicative, academic, and social skills (FAQ's about Musical Therapy, 1999). Although the client might develop musical skills during the treatment, that is not the main concern of the therapist. The primary goal rather is to influence the client in such a way with music as to affect the psychological, physical and socio-economical functioning (FAQ's about Musical Therapy, 1999).
The idea of music as a healing influence which could affect health and behavior is as least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato. The 20th century discipline began after World War I and World War II when community musicians of all types, both amateur and...