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How Does Music Therapy Help In Addiction Treatment?

Among the alternative therapies offered by addiction centers is music therapy. Music therapy is part of a holistic approach to treating addiction. It utilizes both the meditative powers of music as well as the potential for self-expression through music creation and dance.

Music Therapy

What exactly does music therapy entail? And how does music therapy help in addiction treatment?

Here is what you need to know.

What is music therapy?

Music therapy can take many different forms, often depending on the music therapist. Because music therapy is a supplemental part of holistic addiction treatment, it does not need to pursue quick results, instead allowing space for recovering addicts to explore.

In the music therapy space, a number of approaches may be taken. The music therapist may play meditative music while the participants play a passive role. They may play more upbeat music that the participants can dance to, together or alone. Alternatively, they may play music which opens the space for participants to contribute.

If they feel comfortable, a participant may sing, drum, or play an instrument of their own.

Let’s go into how this impacts a person’s therapy journey.

One-Mindful Listening

Most people listen to music in a very passive, by-the-by way. It is on while they drive or do work. Sometimes, they dance to music in a club and occasionally go to live performances and join in with songs they know. However, it is rare that someone simply sits and listens to a song.

Listening to music while doing nothing else is called a one-mindful activity. One-mindful listening gives the individual the chance to observe how they react, physically and emotionally, to the music. Music provides a safe space in which to simply exist. While the recovering addict may still struggle to sit in silence, alone with their thoughts, music provides a sense of comfort.

The music therapist may play meditative music for this purpose, guiding the participants in letting their thoughts come and go. However, the individual can take the skills learned with them, and spend time lying on their bed, simply listening to their favorite songs.

Creative Self-Expression

Many recovering addicts grapple with the question of who they are. They may struggle to separate themselves from the person reliant on drugs and alcohol. They may fixate on where they “went wrong” in life, unable to see the value in who they are.

The best alternative holistic therapies give people space to discover who they are without judgment or past associations. They take the approach that existence in and of itself is beautiful, and every individual deserves love just as they are.

Music therapy gives recovering addicts the space to drop all of their associations and react to the music. They can join in by dancing or by contributing to the music by clapping, drumming, or singing along.

This facilitates creative self-expression that is risk-free. There is no product or result necessary at the end of it. They can just let their body take them wherever it leads.

The enjoyment in this kind of therapy is beneficial to recovering addicts, who have learned to associate pleasure with substances. Instead of an experience fraught with associations and memories, music provides pure, unencumbered pleasure.

Music therapy can be very beneficial as a supplemental treatment in addiction recovery. It is a rewarding component of a holistic approach to substance abuse treatment.

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