Music Therapy and Brain Injury – VIDEO
Alan, a six-time Ironman Triathlete in his 50s had a major stroke that rendered him unable to talk or walk. Still in recovery after 7 years, and still unable to walk unassisted, he is clear to convey that, “Music Therapy helped me find myself when so much of me was taken away – the music therapy helped heal my voice, my hands, and my heart.”
Working with anyone who has suffered an acquired brain injury knows it is sensitive work. The primary consideration of a music therapist is to address all aspects of the person sitting in front of them:
- who they were – what was important to them prior to their injury and how can the music of their past access their best (happy, productive, important) memories. The MTA then uses these music-based anchors to support their client’s ongoing rehabilitation.
- who they are – what do they need right now and how can music make them feel successful and motivated to continue their healing journey. When used intentionally to do so, music therapy can improve the many injuries that may result from brain injury including impairment of speech and language processing, impairment of physical abilities, impairment of cognitive processing, loss or disorganization of memory and emotional distress.
- who they desire to become – what do they hope to achieve and how can music help them get there. MTAs work closely with their clients to ensure the client’s specific goals are met.
The most important aspect of the music therapist’s work is to ensure the whole person is considered during the music therapy session – that every aspect of the person is addressed – the healing of their mind, body and spirit. Music has the capabilities, and the music therapist has the training to ensure the music is used in a safe and effective manner, using specifically designed treatment plans based on individual need.
TUNE IN, the book written by Jennifer Buchanan, will give professionals and family members more strategies for using music intentionally for work and home. Also available in paperback.