It’s been around since World War 2, but an out of the ordinary type of therapy is just starting to gain traction in Utah.
Music and therapy. When you hear those words together you may think of meditation or listening to classical music for relaxation. Experts say music therapy is more powerful than you might think.
Nine year old Bridger Fry is on the autism spectrum. He’s also non-verbal, but that doesn’t stop him from expressing himself through music. Bridger’s mom Becky says he’s always had a special connection with music. She says she was excited when she accidentally stumbled on music therapy online. Bridger learns colors and numbers all through the medium of music.
“The therapist was singing and he started singing with her and started vocalizing,” Fry said. “So it was super fun to see him try and make sounds.”
The American Music Therapy Association says it’s for people of all ages with physical, emotional or social needs. Sixteen year-old Dana combats depression through songwriting and expressing her feelings. Music therapist Mary Whyte says music has a special way of reaching some people beyond tradtional forms of therapy.
“Sometimes I’ll have other therapists kind of jokingly be like, ‘Why are they excited to go to your therapy group when they kind of begrudge mine?’ But it’s because they’re attached to music and they use music every day in their lives already, and so using it in an intentional way to help their treatment is very motivating for them.”
Music therapists say their main goal is to use music to help other people reach their goals.
Whyte says one of the misconceptions about music therapy is that you have to be musical for it to be effective. She says an increasing number of studies show the benefits of therapy through music.