Music Therapy Program
Music Therapy is one of the many treatment modalities offered at Newport News Behavioral Health Center. It was established as an additional intervention and clinical service to increase self expression and quality of life for its residents. The program is group-therapy oriented and is offered to residents on two separate units (separate groups for males and females) every 6 weeks. Each group lasts one hour and occurs 1x per week on campus. The music therapist facilitates each session and provides feedback on each resident’s progress to the treatment team.
Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship and setting by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Live music (both receptive and participatory/collaborative) is used as a primary intervention to facilitate changes that are non-musical in nature. Music Therapy has been shown to be an effective form of treatment for physical, emotional, social, and cognitive needs and struggles of adolescents, as related to both mental health and substance abuse disorder treatment. As music is such an important and prominent part of many adolescents’ lives, engaging in music as part of treatment is not only an effective approach, but enjoyable for teens as well.
Music Therapy sessions may involve any combination of creating, listening to, moving to, or singing music. Through referral and an interview/assessment process the music therapist designs music therapy sessions for individuals or groups based on their needs. Music improvisation, receptive music listening, songwriting, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, and learning through music are all interventions that you may see in a music therapy session. It is not simply the listening or singing of music that makes it Music Therapy; rather, it’s the implementation, engagement, and connections that the certified Music Therapist helps teens to make that uses such musical acts in a therapeutic context.
Music Therapy research has shown that music reduces muscle tension, improved self-image/increased self-esteem, decreased anxiety/agitation, increased verbalization, enhanced interpersonal relationships, improved group cohesiveness, increased motivation and can provide a successful and safe emotional release. This effective treatment modality can be very useful in helping teens with a number of different therapeutic steps, including, but not limited to: noticing thought patterns, belief systems, and habits; recognizing emotions they were unaware of; making connections between behaviors and thoughts or feelings; recognizing feelings and thoughts related to their interaction with others; and improving confidence and self-worth. Through song creation, re-creation, and analysis of preferred genres of music and songs, music serves as a communication function that expresses values, attitudes, and opinions about everyday life and situations. By understanding each teen’s personal connection with music, the music therapist can gain an understanding of the teen’s self-understanding and use those connections to provide education and assistance in developing music interventions to help regulate mood, administer emotions, adjust energy levels, and help create healthy boundaries around themselves in various settings and situations.