Music therapy for depression

Central and Northwest London Foundation NHS Trust, Arts Therapies, Greater London House, Hampstead Road, London, UK, NW1 7QY.
Cochrane database of systematic reviews (Online) (Impact Factor: 6.03). 02/2008; 1(1):CD004517. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD004517.pub2
Source: PubMed


Music therapy has been used in a range of ways to treat depression. Approaches can be active or receptive: active techniques might be used when participants cannot articulate difficult feelings. Here the therapist uses clinical techniques to connect with the patient in an improvised dialogue, which can then act as a springboard to emotional awareness. Receptive techniques involve the use of pre-composed music for relaxation, reflection, guided reminiscence and change of mood state. We conducted a systematic review to find out whether music therapy is effective in reducing the symptoms of depression. Five studies met the inclusion criteria for the review. Marked variations in the interventions offered, the populations studied and the outcome measures used meant that quantitative data synthesis and meta-analysis were not appropriate. Four studies reported greater reductions in symptoms of depression among those randomised to music therapy. The fifth study reported no change in mental state among those receiving music therapy compared to those randomised to standard care alone. Findings from individual studies suggest that music therapy for people with depression is feasible and indicate a need for further research.

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    • "affect regulation , a possibility which in turn may have implications for music therapy . According to the Cochrane review on the subject , in the treatment of depression , a small number of clinical studies have shown that the addition of music therapy , including a variety of methods , can offer improved results compared to standard care alone ( Maratos et al . , 2008 ) . Erkkil√§ et al . ( 2011 ) conducted a controlled trial and found that depression symptoms , anxiety symptoms and general functioning were significantly improved in clients who participated in 3 months of clinical music improvisation sessions compared to those who received only standard care . Similar results regarding music improvisa"
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    ABSTRACT: Music therapists use guided affect regulation in the treatment of mood disorders. However, self-directed uses of music in affect regulation are not fully understood. Some uses of music may have negative effects on mental health, as can non-music regulation strategies, such as rumination. Psychological testing and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) were used explore music listening strategies in relation to mental health. Participants (n = 123) were assessed for depression, anxiety and Neuroticism, and uses of Music in Mood Regulation (MMR). Neural responses to music were measured in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) in a subset of participants (n = 56). Discharge, using music to express negative emotions, related to increased anxiety and Neuroticism in all participants and particularly in males. Males high in Discharge showed decreased activity of mPFC during music listening compared with those using less Discharge. Females high in Diversion, using music to distract from negative emotions, showed more mPFC activity than females using less Diversion. These results suggest that the use of Discharge strategy can be associated with maladaptive patterns of emotional regulation, and may even have long-term negative effects on mental health. This finding has real-world applications in psychotherapy and particularly in clinical music therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
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    • "Patients experience imagery through the music program provided by the therapist and subsequently discuss their imagery with the therapist. Music therapy is an effective form of psychological therapy ; it can soothe the suppressed emotions of patients and add vitality to the body, while giving them the energy to share their feelings with others (Maratos et al. 2008). Fig. 1. "
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    ABSTRACT: Stroke is one of the leading causes of morbidity and long-term disability worldwide, and post-stroke depression (PSD) is a common and serious psychiatric complication of stroke. PSD makes patients have more severe deficits in activities of daily living, a worse functional outcome, more severe cognitive deficits and increased mortality as compared to stroke patients without depression. Therefore, to reduce or prevent mental problems of stroke patients, psychological treatment should be recommended. Literature and art therapy are highly effective psychological treatment for stroke patients. Literature therapy divided into poetry and story therapy is an assistive tool that treats neurosis as well as emotional or behavioral disorders. Poetry can add impression to the lethargic life of a patient with PSD, thereby acting as a natural treatment. Story therapy can change the gloomy psychological state of patients into a bright and healthy story, and therefore can help stroke patients to overcome their emotional disabilities. Art therapy is one form of psychological therapy that can treat depression and anxiety in stroke patients. Stroke patients can express their internal conflicts, emotions, and psychological status through art works or processes and it would be a healing process of mental problems. Music therapy can relieve the suppressed emotions of patients and add vitality to the body, while giving them the energy to share their feelings with others. In conclusion, literature and art therapy can identify the emotional status of patients and serve as a useful auxiliary tool to help stroke patients in their rehabilitation process.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2015 · The Tohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
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    • "Where trials of improvisational therapies have been conducted, these have usually compared an intervention to a non-musical intervention or to treatment as usual (e.g. Albornoz 2011), rather than comparing music therapy with improvisation to music therapy without (Gold et al. 2006; Kamioka et al. 2014; Maratos et al. 2008). Greater consideration should be given to the comparison conditions in trials of improvisational music therapy. "
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    ABSTRACT: There is an expanding field of research into how making or listening to music can improve wellbeing. As a spontaneous, social, creative nonverbal process unfolding in real time, musical improvisation between individuals is a unique psychological phenomenon distinct from other areas of musical activity. It may therefore have an influence on health or wellbeing distinct from other musical behaviours, and from other components of a musical intervention. Given the psychological complexity of this behaviour it is important to establish the parameters of improvisation, the effects on health or wellbeing that are perceived or claimed for it, and any mechanisms understood to bring about these effects. To establish this, literature was reviewed that explicitly investigates or theorises about the capacity of musical improvisation to influence health or wellbeing. Only work examining its application within music therapy was identified. The behaviours and interactions that constitute improvisation during music therapy are clearly defined. Improvisation in music therapy is seen to have specific benefits for particular populations including the amelioration of neurological damage, improvements in mental health conditions, reductions in stress and anxiety, and improved communication and joint attention behaviours in children with autistic spectrum disorders. Four unique characteristics of musical improvisation are identified as underlying these effects: its potential to link conscious with unconscious processes, the demands on attention of absorption in a creative process, the non-verbal social and creative interaction experienced, and the capacity for expressing difficult or repressed emotions without having to articulate these verbally. Although improvisation is undertaken in music therapy for a purpose distinct from that of improvisation in other contexts, its processes can be seen as substantively similar, suggesting that improvising in itself may offer intrinsic benefits to health or wellbeing to broader populations and outwith the therapeutic context. Based on this review, a model is proposed for how improvisation in music can influence the health or wellbeing of those involved.
    Preview · Article · Dec 2014
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