Music is universally one of the most impactful influences in people’s lives.
It influences emotions and moods and allows individuals to express themselves in a way that cannot be translated otherwise. Many reference the power of music and its influence in their daily lives and scientific evidence is beginning to support these claims. Music transcends gender, race, ethnicity and age and is powerful in its ability to help people overcome obstacles and express themselves. Much of the evidence surrounding the impact of music on the human condition also supports its power in addiction rehab and how it can help individuals through the recovery process.
Music as an Experiential Therapy
Music therapy is an experiential therapy that allows for the accomplishment of individual goals as well as methods of improving communication with others. Music therapy helps individuals manage physical, emotional and behavioral problems in a variety of ways, including, singing, listening, dancing and writing. This is especially beneficial in the beginning stages of recovery as many individuals experience a wide array of emotions and need an outlet for their feelings. Music is also a great way to reduce stress and boost moods. Music can also be used as a way to connect with others including building relationships with peers around common interests that are not related to substance abuse. It can also alleviate boredom that may trigger relapse. Music therapy replaces time previously used for acquiring and abusing substances with a hobby that is enjoyable and beneficial.
Music therapy is one of many experiential therapies that provides benefits to those recovering from addiction and when integrated with traditional therapies, the recovery process is made easier. Music provides individuals with an outlet for stress and a method of self-expression that can deter behaviors and thoughts that may lead to relapse. While experiential therapies are incredibly beneficial in the recovery process, music therapy is most successful when it is integrated into an individualized treatment plan for substance abuse. Overcoming addiction is more than simply abstaining from substance abuse; it requires a lifestyle change that supports sobriety long-term. For many, music therapy provides a means of exploring one’s individuality, uncovering interests and hobbies while encouraging them to take back control over their lives and futures.
Benefits of Music Therapy
Music therapy provides a number of benefits both physically and mentally. Music can help reduce stress levels, lower blood pressure and lessen symptoms of depression or other mental health disorders. Music also improves concentration levels, helps individuals deal with anxiety and can encourage a positive state of mind. Music can also lead individuals to other activities, such as meditation, that can lead to increased spirituality and a means of dealing with difficult emotions. Music therapy can be done individually or in a group setting, which can improve non-verbal expression, group cooperation and confidence.
The goal of music therapy is to provide participants with the ability to create individualized goals. Clients are not required to be musically gifted to participate in this form of therapy; rather, it is a way for individuals to actively participate and grow their confidence and self-esteem. Music therapy is individualized and reflects the unique needs and interests of each person. As an experiential therapy, music is designed to address emotional and behavioral problems that may inhibit an individual’s ability to overcome addiction and provide therapeutic benefits in non-traditional settings. Overcoming barriers in this environment allows participants to reflect on their behaviors and see how the development of healthy coping mechanisms can be integrated into everyday life.