Making Connections - Music Therapy

April is a big month for Plus One Foundation. We, as a team were able to take a moment and reflect on our first anniversary -- what has been accomplished and the positive feedback we have been receiving from not only our Grant Recipients but also the service providers we work with. From art therapy to therapeutic horseback riding, we are still always surprised and pleased at how non-traditional medical methods can produce positive results for individuals living with a neurological condition. One approach that has garnished some recent media coverage is that of music therapy. Below is an overview of those who have seen positive effects, what music therapy is, and the Plus One Foundations support of this therapy. Earlier this year congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was interviewed in a few different segments by CBS and ABC focusing on how music therapy was able to help her regain parts of her speech and the ability to walk again. What is important about Giffords recovery is that it brought music therapy to the forefront as we are able to witness first hand her struggles with speech, to her overall progress of stringing words together. This is a pretty remarkable feat and all accomplished with the love of music. For a more detailed account on Giffords recovery and the use of music therapy I would suggest this article written by Emily Sohn from the Discovery News: http://news.discovery.com/human/gabrielle-giffords-photos-111116.html.

Defined by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Music therapy interventions can be designed to: Promote Wellness Manage Stress Alleviate Pain Express Feelings Enhance Memory Improve Communication Promote Physical Rehabilitation

It seems pretty evident while there are case studies that support the theory that music therapy can produce positive results, the medical community is still split on whether there is enough concrete data that music therapy does indeed work. However, this has not stopped the growth of music therapy even in the Seattle community. Swedish Hospital uses music therapy to treat their cancer patients, and complementary therapies including art, massage and meditation: http://www.swedish.org/Services/Cancer-Institute/Services/Complementary-Therapies/Music-Therapy#axzz1rrpK1l98

I watched a great video about Seattle local David Knott and his work over at Children's Hospital. Watching the short news clip leaves no doubt that music therapy can help alleviate pain and anxiety, but also allow a child to connect the dots. To read more: http://www.seattlechildrens.org/videos/healthlink-music-therapy/.

A great resource for Washington State certified Music Therapist is the Music Therapy Association of Washington (MTAW). http://www.musictherapywa.org/info/. MTAW is dedicated to providing resources and a connection point for professional music therapists, students, and others interested in learning about and promoting music therapy in the state of Washington. Included on their web site is a directory for Music Therapy providers: http://www.musictherapywa.org/info/directory-of-music-therapists.

Reading further, I found that the first and only program for becoming a certified music therapist in the state of Washington is at Seattle Pacific University. http://www.spu.edu/depts/fpa/music/therapy/. According to the programs documentation Music Therapy is a growing field where finding a qualified/certified therapist can be challenging. For more information on SPU's music therapy program visit: http://www.spu.edu/depts/fpa/music/therapy/index.asp.

What does this mean for Plus One? Well it means we are excited for the opportunity to help our grant recipients take advantage of music therapy, and the positive effects it will have on the recovery process. If you or someone you know is interested in a music therapy program please feel free to contact us for more information, or fill out our Occasions program application http://www.plusonefoundation.com/occasions.html.

If you are also a trained music therapist we would love to talk to you about your services.

Mark Nieves Board Member Plus One Foundation