Arts therapies

Explains what arts therapies are, what they are for, what happens during therapy and how to find a therapist.

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What is music therapy?

Music therapy can involve:

  • playing an instrument
  • singing
  • listening to music

You might make up your own piece of music or play specific pieces that you can develop over time. The type of music you play will depend on your feelings, taste and musical experience.

Music therapy often uses instruments that don't require any previous experience of reading or playing music. For example:

  • drums
  • cymbals
  • wood blocks
  • bells
  • simple harps

If you already play an instrument, you may also be able to use that in your sessions.

How might music therapy help me?

During a session, your therapist will listen to the music you create to try to understand how you are feeling. They will then respond to this by playing their own music to focus on making positive changes to how you feel.

When I feel sad, picking up my violin, feeling it nestling against me and playing a tune takes me on a journey and I come back much better.

You may also listen to different pieces of music before talking about them or respond by playing or singing music of your own.

Music therapy may also help you to:

  • explore challenging feelings and memories that you find too difficult to talk about
  • bring back old feelings and memories you thought you had forgotten, helping you deal with difficult things in your past
  • get used to expressing yourself, which can then help you write or talk about your feelings more easily
  • think about how you relate to other people and help you to build positive relationships with others

Producing music can untangle my thoughts and re-establish order.

This information was published in 2016. We will revise it in 2019.


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