Music helps patients and their families cope with natural emotions

Music can be a tremendously powerful healing force that moves people in a way that words alone cannot. We believe music is so vital to the physical, emotional and spiritual health of our patients that music therapy has become a core part of our program of care. Music therapy is the clinical use of music interventions to achieve therapeutic goals that address the physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of patients.

A qualified music therapist creates therapy sessions using:

  • Music improvisation
  • Receptive music listening
  • Song writing
  • Lyric discussion
  • Music and imagery
  • Music performance

How Music Therapy Can Help

Music therapy can help patients and their families cope with natural emotions they may be experiencing related to illness.

For instance, a music therapist might encourage a patient to express grief by singing, or to cope with anger by shaking a maraca or pounding a drum. (Nonverbal patients can also use a drum to express their feelings.) Music therapists can also provide patients who experience anxiety with CDs of relaxing music, and they can encourage isolated patients to socialize by organizing sing-alongs.

If desired, music therapists can create a therapeutic environment for an individual to enjoy during their final days. Music can regulate a patient’s breathing, which can relax family members and turn a distressing situation into a memorable occasion. Additionally, music therapists can assist with and perform at memorial services.

Who Can Benefit from Music Therapy?

According to research, not only is music therapy effective in overall physical rehabilitation but it can help patients become more engaged in their treatment. Music therapy is used to treat patients with a wide number of conditions, such as cancer, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, depression or anxiety and acute and chronic pain.

In fact, virtually anyone can experience relief using this form of therapy – you don’t need any musical training to experience the benefits. Music therapy not only soothes patients at the end of life, but it helps their families during the grieving process as well. Specifically, children benefit greatly from music therapy. Music breaks down defenses and allows children to heal by expressing emotions they may not have words for.

Brookdale Hospice Music Therapists

Brookdale Hospice hires Music Therapists who are Bachelor or Master level trained as well as Board Certified. Each Brookdale Hospice location employs a full-time music therapist who is considered part of the core services offered to patients and families.