Music expresses that which cannot be put into words
– Victor Hugo
What are Music and Art Therapies?
Music and art therapy are otherwise known as ‘Expressive Arts Therapies’ – includes music, art, drama, creative writing/poetry, and dance.
Since the 1940s that expressive arts have been formally recognised as therapeutic tools, playing an important role in the assessment and treatment of many mental health conditions.
Psychological disorders can be assessed and treated, improving mental health and emotional wellness, via music and art therapies in conjunction with a clinical approach.
Creative therapies can help clients manage and communicate their feelings in ways that language cannot always accomplish. They can help to address deep trauma without the use of words, which can, in turn, help to nurture personal growth and healing transformation, increase self-worth and confidence.
Anyone can access music and art therapy, the client does not need to be a fantastic musician to learn the ukulele as an example.
After World War, I and World War II, both amateur and professional musicians attended veterans’ hospitals to play for those who had suffered physical and emotional trauma.
The impact of the music was immediate on the patients. It became apparent that the hospital musicians required training before starting, and thus ensued the beginning of music therapy education.
Music therapy is now an evidence-based intervention that uses music within a therapeutic process to assist people to identify and deal with social, cognitive, emotional or even physical manifestations.
Making music, writing songs, listening to music or reflecting on music, to improve health and wellbeing. Music has been a core element of EMDR and Neurofeedback for years.
Music-based therapy is based on two central methods:
- ‘relaxation’ music therapy, often used in the treatment of anxiety, depression and cognitive disorder
- ‘analytical’ music therapy, used as the medium for ‘analytic’ psychotherapy
- playing music, learning and playing musical instruments.
Music facilitates positive changes in emotional wellbeing and enhances communication between an individual and their therapist.
Music therapy can help:
- improve mood
- strengthen coping skills
- encourage emotional expression
- relieve stress and symptoms of anxiety
- facilitate and develop social and communication skills
- improve self-confidence and independence
- enhance self-awareness and awareness of others
- improve concentration and attention skills
- recall and process traumatic experiences
Music helps with conditions as widespread as behavioural disorders, PTSD, schizophrenia, brain injury and neurological disorders, substance use disorders and executive burnout.
What is Art Therapy? Meet the team!
Art therapy uses a variety of methods, such as drawing, painting, sculpture and collage as a means of self-expression. The process of working with materials such as paint, oil pastels, clay and fabrics – and creating a final product – has been shown to have help people:
- explore and share their emotions
- strengthen their sense of self
- manage stress
- work through their problems
- learn better-coping skills
- uncover different aspects of their personalities
- boost self-esteem
- deal with hidden trauma
The main aim of art therapy is to enable positive growth, through engagement with the art materials in a safe and creative space.
What are Music and Art Therapies used to treat?
Both music and art can build a relationship between a client and their therapist, and assist in creating a dialogue between them, either verbally or through the emerging music or artworks.
Both methods are often used alongside other psychotherapy techniques, such as Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT), Group Therapy, and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), for maximum benefit, Neurofeedback and rTMS.
When music and/or art therapy are used as a complementary therapy to treat several conditions, New Life Marbella is finding the following results:
- attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
- problems with cognitive function
- eating disorders, including anorexia and bulimia
- emotional difficulties
- psychological symptoms associated with medical issues, such as cancer or disability
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- psychological issues
- relationship/family issues
- substance use / dependency
- executive burnout
What are the benefits of using Music and Art Therapies?
The psychological benefits gained through the application of music and art are numerous.
The benefits of using music and art therapies can include:
- reduce anxiety, depression and physical effects of stress
- bypass a problem when reflective and communication skills are not sufficiently developed to verbally communicate thoughts or feelings (creating the music or artwork is the primary focus, with increased understanding, reflection and verbal expression emerging later)
- help to reduce symptoms of psychological disorders, such as schizophrenia
- contribute to a sense of clarity, leading to greater self-awareness and a more positive self-image (through the reflections and insights gained)
- provide an opportunity to disengage from potentially intense, verbal confrontation – that some talking therapy types require – instead, engaging in mindful, mood-regulating activities that focus on creativity
- provide a safe outlet for exploring and expressing feelings that are difficult to articulate verbally
- enable the discovery and expression of underlying thoughts and feelings – especially helpful for those too traumatised to speak about painful or complicated issues
- provide a natural opportunity in which to learn and practise new patterns of relating, and develop social and interpersonal skills – particularly when used in group or family therapy settings
- help circumvent feelings of embarrassment, shame, fear or resistance – that stem from fear-based thought patterns – by allowing free expression through non-verbal techniques
- have a positive impact on self-regulating emotions and managing behaviours, like pain, rage, shame and other difficult feelings can be directed into making music or art (the feelings can be expressed through the music or art, instead of ‘acting out’ behaviours)
- generate creative energy as a healing force for mind, body and soul.