Music therapy

What is music therapy? 

Music therapy utilises musical experiences and interactions designed to assist people with disorders such as schizophrenia to address issues they may have difficulty with, such as communication and self-regulation. It may be offered through group and individual programmes and does not require a client to have musical skills. Therapists are trained to respond to challenging behaviour using both musical and non-musical strategies. Music therapy can be active (including improvisation, producing music) or receptive (listening to either live or recorded music). The musical therapist can manipulate the rhythmic or harmonic structure to alter therapy intensity. The therapist can also direct the focus of the session to be concentrating on the processes within the music itself, or to focus more on the client’s emotional responses to the music.

What is the evidence for music therapy?

Moderate to high quality evidence suggests music therapy can improve social and overall functioning (medium to large effects). Moderate quality evidence finds music therapy can also reduce catatonic behaviour.

Moderate to low quality evidence finds improvements in negative, depression and anxiety symptoms, quality of life, perceived social support, and attention, memory, and abstract thinking.

September 2020

Last updated at: 4:39 am, 11th September 2020
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Title Colour Legend:
Green - Topic summary is available.
Orange - Topic summary is being compiled.
Red - Topic summary has no current systematic review available.