Self-care Saturday #3, Music Therapy

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Therapy is a broad term that is used to describe activities that invest in wellbeing. There are many types of therapy, and the most common recommend for post natal depression seems to be talking therapy. Consequently the value of the other arts is often downplayed in comparison to professional counselling. Music therapy is based on the same premise as talking therapy in that there are are two parties involved and the aim is to communicate the emotions and actions of the person who has post natal depression or other perinatal disorder.

It works like this. There is are two active members in music therapy. Whether you choose to perform or to listen, it does not matter. As a performer, you are using your musical talent to express your feelings through the songs that you choose to play. Similarly as a listener you are also selecting music to play that reflects your emotions. The performer in both cases is enveloping your mood through their musical expression. It is important that the musical choice be suggestive rather than brash.

It has been shown that music can affect moods and it is a vital consideration for this exercise that the music be know to you either by memory or through artist genre. For example, I love Florence and The Machine and during one of my music therapy sessions my husband introduced me to London Grammar. This band has similar musical characteristics to Florence and the Machine in terms of vocal accord, musical composition and genre effects. This means that although the music was new, it was in a way, known, meaning that it was able to reach the relaxation part of my brain allowing me therapeutic time.

When I choose to play music I often decide to have an audience, nowadays it being my baby. As such I chose songs that are suitable for our relationship and so play often uplifting or ballad compositions. I think this is an important distinction as I find that after I play a set that my mood is altered by whatever genre I decided to play.

Ultimately there are a few ways that I see that music therapy can be applied

#1 As a listener

This entails selecting appropriate mood lifting or mood resilient music which aims to maintain or alter your mood.

#2 As an artist

Selecting audience and relationship building songs can help in developing your mood.

#3 As a collaborator

Playing with another person, or along with a track can instil efficacy and subsequently affect your mood.


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