Professor Lambert Hartman
11 October 2012
How Does Music Therapy Affect Patient’s Psychological and Physiological Well-being?
Many countries that you can travel to, have their own style of music that makes up their culture, which is incorporated into their lifestyles. Music was not only created around the world for enjoyment, but has been used as a form of comfort, a stress reliever, and a healer (“What Is Music Therapy?”). According to the American Cancer Society, in their Find and Support Treatment section, music therapy was developed in during World War II where it was used in US Veteran Administration hospitals to treat soldiers from suffering from shell shock (“Music Therapy”). From a personal experience, I feel that music eases my tension, helps me focus, and relates to how I am feeling. In addition to my personal experience and connection with music, I was curious to see how music can be even more therapeutic. I am interested about the profession of music therapy as well as the effects that it has on patients and people with disabilities. For my research, I decided to choose the question, “What effect does music therapy have on various patients’ physical and mental wellbeing?” I wanted to examine this question more intently, because I believe that music therapy can provide evidence for a new method of healing for people that suffer from illnesses including cancer, disease, and depression as well as mental disabilities like autism.
As I started my research, I first wanted to find out what music therapy was and what type of audience it was aimed toward. The first resource that I found to steer me in the right direction was the Music Therapy Association website where I read, “What is Music Therapy?” This provided me with the basic definition of music therapy and how it aimed to help their patients. Music Therapy is defined as, “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program (“What is Music Therapy?”).” Here, I learned that the entire website is geared toward people who find it difficult to express themselves and feel strengthened by the music that the program is creating for them. For many years music therapy has been developing and helping to ease the pain of many patients ranging from various ages with illnesses and disorders. Specialized in this area, music therapists are “trained professionals who assess the well being of the physical health, communications, and functions of client needs” (“What Is Music Therapy?”). Some of their main goals are to “promote wellness, alleviate pain enhance memory, and promote physical rehabilitation” (“What Is Music Therapy?”). The website gives you the opportunity to sign up as a Music Therapist, attend conferences for the program, and provides many stories and quotes about personal experiences with musical therapy. Although this website was beneficial to the start of my search, I knew I needed more to do more in depth research about my topic.
I decided to expand on my previous topic so I searched the LEO Library Website on the JMU page for further research. Here, I found a book called Interactive Music Therapy, where Amelia Oldfield shares her experience from traveling to a Child Development Center where she conducted a study the developmental relationship on children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their parents. Since Oldfield specializes in studying children with ASD, I knew she would provide quality information for me to include. For eighteen to twenty-six weeks Oldfield studied ten children and their parents by video analysis, semi-structured parent interviews, music therapy reports, and Parenting Stress Index questionnaires. After hours of recording data at the end of the study, nine out of ten parents felt the sessions proved to have a positive impact after participating...