For adolescents and adults, individual and group music therapy sessions focus on a collaborative, strengths-based, and trauma-informed approach to meet goals based on one’s mental health and emotional needs, based on issues such as:
- Depression, anxiety, or other mood disorders
- Processing trauma or other significant life events
- Substance abuse recovery
- Relationship or family conflicts
- Overall health and wellness
Goal areas include, but are not limited to:
- Emotion Regulation and Symptom Management: Active engagement in music experiences may help regulate symptoms of stress and anxiety, and establish music-based coping skills for symptom management in everyday life.
- Social Connection: The presence of music in a therapeutic environment helps to influence health emotional interactions with peers, with an emphasis on support, validation, and problem solving.
- Insight: Music therapy interventions in conjunction with counseling skills may help the client gain a deeper understanding or emotional issues, while providing a safe space to process these emotions within a music experience.
- Agency and Self-Image: Music experiences may help reconnect a client with his or her own self, helping to rewrite their narratives and rebuild a sense of who they are. Music therapy in this sense may empower a client to reflect on their own strengths and internal resilience for use as motivation to achieve personal goals and improve overall wellbeing.
Therapeutic music interventions may include:
- Music-Assisted Mindfulness: Music-influenced techniques that encourage mind-body connections, including breathing techniques, active music listening, and supportive music and imagery.
- Lyric Analysis and Song Discussion: An in-depth verbal discussion of client-preferred music, with emphasis on lyrical content as a means to encourage self-reflection and insight.
- Song Composition and Songwriting: A multi-layered process that may include lyrical writing, melody composition, instrument playing, and recording. Though this may not necessarily be the case for all individuals, this may occur as a means to reinforce thematic content that emerges in sessions.
- Active Music Making and Improvisation: During individual or group sessions, the client may participate in either extemporaneous or structured music making as a means to experience emotional catharsis, nonverbal support, and a sense of trust among peers and/or therapist.