How can Music Therapy help?
A time for support
Has a loved one or someone in your care had a stroke or a degenerative neurological condition such as Parkinson’s or Huntington’s Disease?
Are they coming to terms with the loss of function?
Do they have difficulties coping?
If you answered 'Yes' to any of these questions, then Music Therapy can help.
Music Therapy can help people who have had an acute neurological incident to recover faster and with greater success and help them adjust to a degenerative condition by increasing their positive emotions and motivation. Our therapists choose a number of techniques to meet both the person's needs and set goals. Therapy can take the form of individualised or group sessions, depending on the needs and abilities of the clients.
A stroke or brain injury can cause a total disruption to the human system; one or both sides of the brain, which direct bodily function, may become impaired. This often results in dramatic changes and loss of function, with a great impact on the person's psychological state too. Dealing with a neurological condition or unexpected brain injury can result in increased stress and difficulties coping for the person affected and their loved ones.
However, research has shown that music stimulates both the left and the right hemispheres of the brain and therefore can make a very positive and powerful contribution to the rehabilitation process.
Research has shown that Music Therapy can promote the well being of clients in neuro-rehabilitation in a number of areas, including:
Stress management, pain reduction, emotional expression, cognitive stimulation, memory enhancement, communication and physical rehabilitation.
• Stimulates the brain function involved in cognition, emotions, speech, sensory perception and movement
• Provides a calm, creative and supportive environment to enable self expression
• Is a creative and enjoyable way to achieve therapeutic outcomes
• Can be used at individual, group, and family involvement levels, thereby encouraging participation, engagement and socialisation
In working with people affected by stroke and other brain injuries, our therapists seek to generate improvements in each of the following areas:
Speech & Communication
Our therapists primarily use singing to improve verbal communication after a neurological incident. Instruments can also be used. This may involve:
Developing oro-motor and breath control using wind instruments
Using Melodic Intonation Therapy to help them regain their speech: While a person may not be able to speak (aphasia), they are often still able to sing. The combination of elements including rhythm, melodic intonation and appropriate silences helps to facilitate speech
Group Music Therapy programmes to improve social and interpersonal skills and promote a shared experience
Music Therapy can be used to promote memory, learning, attention and concentration after a neurological incident. Our therapists help clients to:
Create a song with lyrics containing important information as a memory aid
Develop their memory using rhythm and repetition games
Develop their attention and focus to task through active participation. Musical stimulation is also an important way to stimulate neural pathways in the brain as part of neural plasticity
Movement & Motor Control
Music often acts as a motivating factor. Engaging in music helps to stimulate movement and improves motor control through the use of a steady beat and a rhythmic pattern. Specific instruments are used to encourage targeted movement. Techniques in this area include:
Playing the drum to increase range of motion in the arm
Using action songs, dance, rhythmic exercises and imitation techniques to promote movement and body awareness
Use of music during rehabilitation exercises e.g. gait retraining programmes
Mood & Behaviour
Our therapists use the emotional and aesthetic qualities of music to improve mood and motivation:
Music has the capacity to enhance relaxation, thus acting as a means to reduce agitation, reduce the person's physical and emotional perceptions of pain through distraction, and decrease levels of stress/anxiety
We encourage clients to participate in song writing, recording and improvisation. Not only does this enable emotional expression and help the client cope with and adjust to their current situation, but the engagement in purposeful activities helps to improve their sense of control and to increase their self esteem.
Brain Injury & Neurological Conditions
‘The power of music is 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
Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at Columbia University Medical Centre, author of 'Musicophilia'
Music Therapy induces greater health and well-being in a time of great loss and change. Skills practiced and developed in Music Therapy enable clients to function as independently as possible in their daily lives