Music Therapy in Recovery

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August 01, 2013

Music Therapy in Recovery

Today, we present a guest blog from Brittany Harmon, M.M., MT-BC, music therapist at Lakeview Health Systems.

Music Therapy in Recovery

music therapy in drug rehab

The Musical Path to Recovery


I was approached with the idea of blogging about music therapy, and I received the opportunity gladly. Then I started looking at other blogs, wondering if I was approaching this the “right way,” as though there was a one-size-fits-all formula for blogging. And it occurred to me that as a music therapist, I approach matters from a different angle than traditional talk therapists.

Encountering Music

Most patients I see don’t know what music therapy is when they come into treatment, but I encourage them to be open-minded. Some come at it enthusiastically; some a little more reserved, wondering how a music therapy approach can contribute to their recovery. They come to find that we embark on a variety of active playing, writing and listening experiences that lead them toward recovery goals.

Words That Mean the Most

The sessions include songs patients can apply to their own lives. One day I played the song, “That’s Why I’m Here” by Kenny Chesney. When it ended, I looked around and saw tear-stained faces. Their responses revealed a keen awareness of the song’s message: “It’s the simple things in life, like the kids at home and a loving wife that you miss the most, when you lose control….”
I allow patients to choose phrases that mean the most to them. Oftentimes, the response I get is that they could not choose just one because every word told their story. This song expressed exactly what they were feeling, but struggled to put in words. I let patients keep the lyrics if they would like, and this is one of the songs that even the most isolated patients will keep because they realize others share their story and that they don’t have to walk the path of recovery alone.
If you want to learn more about Lakeview’s music therapy program and how it benefits treatment in our drug and alcohol rehab, call 1-866.704.7692 .

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