Music Therapy Enriches DLC’s Holistic Care Approach - By: Phara L. Morame, Acute Care Clinical Supervisor
April 4th, 2017
As the clinical supervisor of our Crisis Stabilization Unit, I oversee the holistic care we provide to clients—therapies that address the full range of their psychological, emotional, spiritual and physical needs.
Our new music therapy program, which we recently started in cooperation with Florida Gulf Coast University’s Bower School of Music music therapy program, has the potential to touch all of these areas of holistic care, but I believe it addresses the psychological aspect the most.
Research demonstrates that music touches every one of us at some deep, primal level. When we hear music, dopamine is released in the area of the brain that creates pleasure. Studies also show that music has healing effects.
The pilot program, which involves listening to music, playing hand-held instruments and then channeling the music to write life stories related to their struggles with mental health, has already produced outstanding results in both children and adults.
For example, a 15-year-old girl recently came to the Crisis Stabilization Unit with severe depression and thoughts of suicide. While waiting to be placed in a residential program, she is receiving daily therapy and medication; but this deeply troubled young woman remained guarded and isolated, avoiding everyone who approached her and speaking to no one.
She came to the very first music therapy session we held. When the program leader offered everyone instruments, she selected a small drum and began playing. When she was later asked how she was doing, she responded with a smile, stating “I feel better. You know, I wish I could play music every day. If I could, I think I would feel differently.” While this incident highlights only one aspect of her recovery process, it is convincing evidence of music’s profound power to promote healing and well-being. Another client who attended a session said, “Music therapy is a great way to help my anxiety.”
The new trial program, which we are hoping to make permanent, not only helps our clients, but we’ve discovered how much it benefits staff members, myself included. After observing an enjoyable music therapy session, I found myself in a good mood for the rest of the day, just like the clients!
I’m honored to be a part of enhancing David Lawrence Center’s holistic services. Music therapy is a new, important aspect of our treatment services that will help us restore the best possible mental, emotional, spiritual and physical health to our clients in crisis.