It's World Music Therapy Day! Did you know that there are over 1,000 registered Music Therapists in the UK, working in community and healthcare settings near you?
There's still a bit of chance as to whether you will have encountered a music therapist in the wild as, while music therapy is extremely prevalent in some UK locations and NHS trusts, in other places there's still no provision - and, in some cases, no knowledge - of what music therapists do and how their work contributes to patient and client needs.
Read on for some surprising facts about music therapy...
"Music Therapist" is a protected title. If you want to work as a music therapist in the UK you must have completed an accredited Masters course (at one of a handful of providers across the UK) and be registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) - the same body that registers 14 Allied Health Professions such as physiotherapists, speech therapists and occupational therapists.
"Music Therapy" is not a protected title! It's therefore possible for something to be advertised as music therapy while not necessarily being run by a music therapist. If you want to be sure you're receiving a genuinely therapeutic service from someone with extensive training to back it up, check whether the music therapy is being run by a HCPC registered music therapist. The HCPC have a register where you can look your therapist up.
It's not just about doing a bit of drumming to feel better. Sometimes the music made in music therapy will feel really relaxing; at other times it might feel more cathartic; at other times it might put you in touch with that thought that's been lingering at the back of your mind for a while that you didn't quite know how to say out loud. All of the time, the music made tells us something about the relationship between the people making the music. This video is a great explainer as to what music therapy actually is.
Sometimes, though, it can feel hard to pinpoint exactly what music therapy is. Never fear: here's a handy FAQs blog designed to try and answer exactly that question.
Using music as part of therapy means it's possible to get to the heart of your issues without having to use words. Take anxiety, for example. While it might be possible for someone to talk about their anxiety, this is not always as easy as it sounds. This case study shows how music therapy helped one man overcome his overwhelmed feelings in a way that enabled him to express himself and think about how to manage his anxiety much more effectively.
We can prove that music therapy works. In a quote from this blog on music therapy research, we wrote:
Cochrane Reports for music therapy (which collate all gold standard research papers) exist for music therapy with dementia, autism, depression, schizophrenia and cancer. All include some valid papers, and all conclude that music therapy may help reduce some symptoms in those with all of the above conditions.
More research is always needed, but the emerging evidence body continues to show promising results for its efficacy as a treatment for various client groups.
North London Music Therapy works with anyone, of any age, with a mental health concern such as stress, anxiety and depression. To receive music therapy, contact us here.