Conventional Music Therapy

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SW Joy of Life Music Therapy
Elizabeth Chen Christenson, MD

Music Therapy is the structured use of music to assist people of all ages in times of need and as a therapeutic tool to facilitate human functioning and enhance quality of life. Music Therapy is done by people who have had college level training in the discipline of Music Therapy. It is a well-established healthcare profession similar to occupational and physical therapy, music therapy uses carefully selected music and music interventions to address physical, emotional, psychological, cognitive and social needs. While music therapy will not cure or solve problems brought on by crisis or disability, music therapy can help children and adults with special needs learn and use positive coping skills and express difficult feelings and emotions. Because music therapy is a powerful and non-invasive medium, unique outcomes are possible. Music Therapist are licensed by each States and only people so licensed can call themselves Music Therapist. They are eligible to become Board certified after completion the requirement of the Board. Music Therapy services is coverd by medical insurance including Medicare and Medicaid in Hawaii.

Therapeutic Music is a term used for using music for beneficial purposes by people who are not Music Therapist. For example, a mother singing lullaby to her baby has profound effects but does not require a formal training. Obviously a trained musician (not a Music Therapist) can have a tremendous effect to sick people too but they lack of training to assess, document and plan for the use of Music for the psychological, emotion and cognitive needs of the client. Therapeutic Music is not coverd by medical insurance including Medicare and Medicaid in Hawaii.

Sound Therapy is the use of Sound for its beneficial effect. No formal training in Music or Music Therapy is required to use Sound as healing tool. An example would be using a single pitch or note such as Crystal Bowl to “clear energy”.

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