Music has always been more than just a sound, often more of a feeling than a sound. But what many people don’t realize is that music can also be therapy.

Music therapy is the idea that the therapist uses music, whether that be playing music, listening to music, or even dancing to music, to improve the client’s mental and physical health. Often, people use music therapy as more of a spiritual tool, but it is also used for alleviating such things as anxiety and depression. Music therapy helps people with social interaction, self-awareness, learning, self-expression, communication, and even personal development. Music therapy is used for healing, whether that be PTSD or for prison inmates, helping them cope with their circumstances.ap

Many people find standard therapy, sitting in a chair and talking about feelings, unhelpful. But music therapy takes a much different approach and channels your emotions through something we all know and love, music.

There is more than one type of music therapy too; there is an active music therapy, which consists of the patient and the therapist creating music with instruments, objects or even vocals as a way of expression. The second type is receptive, which is where the therapist will play or make music while the patient is free to draw, meditate or even just sit back and think.

Therapists often play music depending on how they want the patient to react, whether that be happy, a moment of calm, or if they want them to open up. The idea is the music directs the patient how to feel when the timing is right. Another interesting aspect is if a patient suffers from anxiety, the therapist often makes him or her a playlist full of songs that the patient can match his or her breathing with, to calm the anxiety.

Music therapy has many benefits, especially for music lovers. Even if you’re not extremely passionate about music, music is something we’re all familiar with and can relate to.

Not many people know about the idea of music therapy, and if you’re interested in being a music therapist, Douglas College is one of the many post-secondary schools that offer a degree in music therapy. Or if you’re interested in trying out music therapy, there are many that offer music therapy in Metro Vancouver.