Medical Music Therapy, Psychiatric Music Therapy, Geriatric Music Therapy, Music Therapy for Autism, Music Therapy for the Developmentally Disabled, Music Therapy Assisted Childbirth, Music Therapy in Palliative/Hospice Care

Following are brief descriptions of four Music Therapy interventions on specialized medical units (General Surgery, Labor and Delivery, Pediatrics, and Oncology), specially tailored to the needs of a modern medical facility.


Hospitalization can be difficult for people of any age. The Music Therapist would strive to ease those difficulties so that patients are able to cope better and to face any life changes that result from illness or injury. Studies supporting the use of music in the surgical arena date back to 1945, when music was used successfully as an audioanalgesic during dental operations (Whitacre & Potter). Since then it has proven to be effective in reducing anxiety in pre-operative patients (Cowan 1991), decreasing the need for post-operative pain medication (Locsin 1981), and increasing coping skills when paired with cognitive therapy techniques (Bryant 1987).


  • To provide patients with a variety of opportunities which foster coping skills and expression of feelings toward: diagnosis, hospitalization, treatment, and life changes.
  • To provide distraction from pain in order to decrease dependency on medications while in the hospital and after discharge.
  • To provide a means to decrease anxiety in pre-operative and post-operative patients in the surgical arena and in the recovery room.

  • Patient will demonstrate increased coping skills and feeling expression through songwriting, lyric interpretation, and improvisation.
  • Patient will demonstrate the ability to relax muscles and to focus on external stimuli by practicing music-assisted pain management techniques.
  • Patient will demonstrate decreased anxiety by engaging in music relaxation and imagery before surgery.
  • Patient will demonstrate the ability to relax muscles in the operating room by following music relaxation cues before and during administering of the anesthesia.
  • Patient will demonstrate a decrease in pain behaviors in the recovery room by practicing music-assisted pain management techniques.

  • Patient who is referred by nursing staff or physicians.
  • Patient who is isolated or withdrawn, or who has difficulty expressing himself/herself.
  • Patient with an interest in music.
  • Patient who needs emotional support and guidance in understanding their illness or injury and in maintaining a positive attitude.
  • Patient who suffers from nervous tension, anxiety, discomfort and/or pain.

Number in Group: Individual sessions.

Frequency: To be determined by the therapist according to the individual's specific needs.

"Patients are able to cope better and to face any life changes that result from illness or injury."

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