History of Music Therapy

Music therapy stems back thousands of years. There is documentation that Egyptians used music to heal the human body. Music is used for therapeutic purposes in many cultures, including Arab, Indian, and Chinese traditions. The history of music therapy is significant to America as the culture has adopted its practices and uses them to treat substance abuse and mental health disorders. Music stimulates different areas of the brain producing relaxing sensations and can provide a safe space to address and process trauma.

Where Did Music Therapy Originate?

In the 20th century, a Beth Israel Medical Center study found that music therapy benefits premature babies. The research established that the infants’ heartbeats slowed, breathing became calmer, and they appeared more relaxed overall while listening to lullabies. The study exemplified how specific variations of melody and rhythm produce positive results for infants.

Pinpointing an exact location for the origins of music therapy is complex since evidence of music, or musical instruments, has been used for thousands of years in every corner of the globe. In biblical times, music was said to extract evil spirits from the body. Famous Greek philosophers such as Aristotle and Plato used it for healing purposes.

Aristotle and Plato developed a system regarding the use of music and how it contributes positively to the human mind, body, and soul. The system included using music to augment emotion, give pleasure, increase moral value, and advance intellectually.

Who Created Music Therapy?

Historically, many people have initiated music therapy methods. That said, Everett Thayer Gaston is considered the “father of music therapy.” Gaston was a clinical psychologist born in Oklahoma in 1901. In 1968 he published the book “Music in Therapy.” There he discussed the three core principles that guided his program. First, he used music therapy to establish or reestablish interpersonal relationships. Second, he used music therapy to bring self-awareness and actualization to the patient. Lastly, he posited the “unique potential of rhythm to energize and bring order” to the patient. Although Gaston published his book in 1968, he used his work in the field of psychology from 1940-60 as the foundation for his seminal publication.

What Is a Music Therapist?

Like a conventional therapist, a music therapist will start by assessing patients to establish their struggles and strengths. With this, they can create appropriate goals and develop a treatment plan.

Music therapists will use a range of artistic activities to help their patients navigate through problems and find positive solutions. Some of these activities can include writing lyrics, playing instruments, and using musical devices and technology to support the client.

To qualify as a therapist, one must obtain a master’s or doctorate in counseling, psychology, or a related field. Music therapists require the same credentials. Applying music therapy techniques requires training and long-term education to properly help an individual heal from trauma, addiction, or mental health conditions.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, speak to a professional about this unique therapy method.

Music Therapy at Sunshine Care Centers 

Music therapy is a fun, highly effective form of therapy that we are proud to offer at Sunshine Care Centers. We are dedicated to providing patients with the resources they need to recover. From EMDR therapy to cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and trauma therapy, our experienced medical staff has you covered.

Whether in North Texas or Southern California, Sunshine Care Centers offers the highest level of care available. We pride ourselves on our clean, compassionate, and secure environment. We use evidence-based addiction treatment with flexible programs that cater to your needs. 

Don’t wait to receive the help you deserve. 

Speak to a specialist at Sunshine Care Centers by calling 883-597-CARE or message us today! 


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