As part of our day service, one of the therapies we provide is music therapy, this is because extensive research has shown music to have many benefits to survivors of acquired brain injury (ABI).
What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy is an evidence-based healthcare profession. It is the clinical use of music in the accomplishment of therapeutic goals in a variety of areas, including, cognitive, emotional, developmental, behavioural, physical, sensory, social and psychosocial.
Who are Music Therapists?
Music therapists work in a variety of healthcare, educational and community settings. They are skilled professionals who hold a masters level qualification in music therapy. In Northern Ireland music therapists are registered with the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC). The HCPC is a regulator set up to protect the public and keeps a register of health and care professionals who meet their high standards for training, professional skills, behaviour and health. Music therapists are also members of the British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT).
Music Therapy Process
At Headway Belfast, the music therapist receives referrals from service users, family members, or staff members. The music therapist carries out an assessment to establish client needs and plans a treatment programme designed to address these needs. The music therapists works closely with other team members (physiotherapist, counsellor and key workers). Programmes are documented and evaluated to assess ongoing effectiveness.
Music Therapy Goals
Some of the music therapy goals may include:
- Alleviating feelings of depression.
- Providing a non-verbal means of communication and self expression.
- Social interaction and re-integration.
- Enhance memory capabilities and develop attention and concentration skills.
- Physical goals.
- Developing and enhancing communication skills.
- Encouraging creativity and spontaneity.
- Increasing confidence and self esteem.
- Opportunities to develop relationships wth other service users and the music therapist.
Music Therapy Techniques
Some of the techniques used in a music therapy session are:
- Song writing.
- Musical improvisation.
- Song lyric analysis and music facilitation discussion.
- Music listening.
Here are some pictures of the music therapy room and our service users taking part in a music therapy session.
Music therapy at Headway Belfast
Music therapy became a part of the day service activities in May 2011 and was offered to service users one day a week. In October 2011, the music therapy programme increased to two days per week and in November 2012 the music therapist became a part-time member of staff. Music therapy is now available to all day therapy service users on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and is delivered by our music therapist Lorraine Ni Bhriain.
Music Therapy Student-Paul Quinn
Headway Belfast has recently recruited a Music Therapy student from the University of Limerick. Paul joins Headway Belfast on a 20 week placement as part of the Masters Degree in Music Therapy.
Paul plays a number of musical instruments including the guitar and the violin, as well as singing in bands regularly. Paul also has a Bachelors Degree in Psychology.
Paul is enjoying his time with Headway Belfast and is getting to see at first hand the influence music therapy has on the service users in a multi-disciplinary environment. Paul is relishing the opportunity to work with Headway Belfast and finds the atmosphere both enriching and professional.