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The Cost of Music Therapy

You're here almost certainly because you've heard of music therapy - you have some idea of what this website's about. Maybe you're curious as to what music therapy is, or how it works. Perhaps you're thinking about having some music therapy yourself (get a copy of our referral form here if so). One of the most common reasons that people who do want therapy and can see the benefit for themselves don't get over the line is because of money:

"I don't think therapy is something I can afford at the moment."

Therapy feels expensive. It's an investment in ourselves. Sometimes it can feel indulgent - although sometimes it can feel necessary - and often it can feel difficult to justify on a long-term basis.

While your music therapist is much more likely to communicate with you than a traditional talking therapist might (it's rather par for the course, as your therapist may well be making music with you), there's no getting round the fact that therapy is a long-term process, absolutely cannot promise quick fixes (anyone who does this I would suggest needs to be questioned quite closely as to the veracity of their claims) and needs time to work.

It's a bit like a gym membership, or working with a personal trainer. Often we have a particular goal in mind (I used a personal trainer to get in shape for my wedding, for instance), during which time it's easier to justify the expense: it's time limited, it's not for forever, we put in the financial and mental commitment for now for results that will pay off later.

Then, that's it, right? No more gym needed! Adios, expensive personal trainer. For some people, that's enough - there was a particular issue that needed working on, it got sorted, now time for the rest of life. If that leaves a person happy and satisfied, then great! Job done. Nothing wrong with that, whether for gym or for therapy.

For others, though, it can suddenly feel like only the initial investment. Perhaps it wasn't the plan, to carry on past the first six months, but, you know, going to the gym feels good overall even though it hurts at the time, and it has nice aesthetic effects on the body. Perhaps it's quite a surprise how good the gym can make us feel, and now there's the awkward sense of wanting more time to continue but not feeling able to (I am in this category. My wedding was four years ago and my exercise regime is nowhere near as efficient as it was when I had a personal trainer to be accountable to).

Maintenance is much harder than the initial work. Sometimes we feel like we should be stronger - we know all the tricks now, we know how to do the exercises, so surely we should be able to manage on our own. Some people feel capable of motivating themselves; others need another person to keep them on the straight and narrow. Both are about as common as each other - but in the latter category, it's interesting to think, even anecdotally, about people who feel they could benefit from, say, a personal trainer but don't hire one.

If we think of long term therapy as the gym membership for the mind, we can see how a lot of these ideas overlap. Therapy is an investment - it's comparable to the price of a good gym membership - but, like the work we justify on our bodies, it's a choice we have to make as to how much we feel we want to invest in our minds.

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