What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the intentional and compassionate use of music by a board certified music therapist to bring about change and enhance quality of life. It is both the techniques and the therapeutic relationship that create healing and transform the lives of individuals with physical, emotional, cognitive, communicative, interpersonal, and/or spiritual needs. It is an evidence-based practice where music therapists design custom music experiences to help address specific goals. Live or recorded music may be used, and clients do not have to be trained musicians to participate in music therapy. A music therapist who is board certified holds the credentials MT-BC.

MT - MIResearch suggest that music therapy can:

  • Enhance memory recall and offer opportunities for reminiscence
  • Promote awareness and orientation
  • Decrease agitation and reduce stress
  • Address pain and anxiety Improve mood
  • Offer emotional support
  • Encourage social interaction
  • Promote self-expression and autonomy
  • Provide a means for family members to connect with loved ones with memory impairment.

“The most common misunderstanding is that music therapy is just entertainment. Music therapy is a clinical specialty [and] have formal training not only in music but in psychology and in the assessment of psychological conditions. The difference in what a music therapist does and what a volunteer musician does is not in what the music sounds like but how it is selected and used. The music therapist carefully chooses music suited to each individual situation, [considering] cultural, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs. Music therapy is a two-way process, [in which the music therapist is] constantly responding and adjusting to the client’s responses. This is why tape recordings are no substitute for the human contact of the music therapist.” -Dr. C. Gourgey, MT-BC, LCAT

When a couple danced together for the first time after five years of the husband’s deterioration from probable Alzheimer’s disease, the wife said: “Thank you for helping us dance. It’s the first time in three years that my husband held me in his arms.” Tearfully, she said that she had missed him just holding her and that music therapy had made that possible. -Taken from the American Music Therapy Association

“The power of music is very remarkable… One sees Parkinsonian patients unable to walk, but able to dance perfectly well or patients almost unable to talk, who are able to sing perfectly well… I think that music therapy and music therapists are crucial and indispensable in institutions for elderly people and among neurologically disabled patients.” -Dr. Oliver Sacks

About Nicole Gomez
Nicole is a Board-Certified Music Therapist and graduate from the University of the Incarnate Word with experience with special needs, mental health issues, medical development issues and geriatric care. She completed training at the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy at New York University and enjoys researching innovative ideas and techniques to bring to her clients. She sees music as an expression and tool for healing and profoundly insightful in the steps for recovery with her clients. Using a holistic and integrative therapeutic approach, her music therapy sessions change according to her clients’ needs and progress to maximize their results.