“Music therapy can make the difference between withdrawal and awareness, between isolation and interaction, between chronic pain and comfort, between demoralization and dignity.” – Barbara Crowe
Music plays an important role in the health of individuals and communities. A music therapist is specially trained to harness the emotional, physiological and relational qualities of music in order to promote wellness and quality of life.
For people living with a mental illness, music therapy can provide a space for the safe expression of feelings, often in ways that words alone could not achieve. Music can also provide meaningful occupation, distraction, motivation, or relaxation. The social nature of music can help draw people out of the isolation that is so often a part of an illness like depression.
Eden Health Care Services currently employs one full-time music therapist, in a unique arrangement with health facilities in the South Central part of Southern Health – Santé Sud. The majority of the therapist’s time is spent at long-term personal care homes, working with residents living with dementia and other challenges.
At Eden Mental Health Centre (EMHC), music therapy is accessible in a couple of ways. First, there is an open-model music group every Friday morning; all patients are welcome to participate in any manner they wish. Typically this session takes the form of a song request circle, which the therapist facilitates by leading the singing, and encouraging patients to either sing, play hand instruments, or simply reflect on the music. In addition, a patient can be referred by a psychiatrist for weekly sessions of one-to-one music therapy; this time can be spent working together to achieve goals of recovery. If there is not currently an individual receiving music therapy in the Thursday time slot, the therapist spends that time leading a second group, which further expands the “community” model of music therapy at EMHC.
For more information, contact Joel Klassen, Music Therapist Accredited: firstname.lastname@example.org.
For much more about music therapy, see the Canadian Association of Music Therapists: www.musictherapy.ca