Using Music Therapy in the Treatment of Stress and Anxiety

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One of the largest mental health issues that people face is stress and the anxiety that it can cause. It can also be the trigger for many of the physical health ailments that are experienced on a daily basis. Typically a normal response to situations that may be harmful, anxiety helps alert people of danger. But it is when that emotional response is elevated beyond a normal level that prolonged disruption of daily life occurs. As stated in the Journal of Music Therapy, “anxiety is generally regarded a negative emotional response to situations that are appraised to be threatening” (Elliot, Polman and McGregor 2011, p. 264) (as cited in Spielberger, 1989, p. 3-17). At the cognitive level, anxiety can produce feelings of apprehension, uneasiness, preoccupation, and worry (Elliot et al. 2011) (as cited in Bourne, 2000). There are many techniques used to treat those suffering with stress and anxiety, including medication, biofeedback and meditation. The main goal in using these techniques is to help the patient achieve relaxation so that the anxiety they are experiencing subsides. However, some of the techniques might introduce deep-relaxation, a response that is not always required (Elliot et al., 2011) (as cited in Payne, 2000) such as when a musician or artist needs to reduce anxiety right before a show, or when a surgeon needs to calm himself before a delicate surgical procedure. The Journal of Music Therapy also noted that “there are instances where it may be unrealistic to practice such techniques to the point to which they become beneficial, (e.g., dentists' waiting room). Thus, for some at least, more appropriate interventions would be required. An alternative would be ‘on-the-spot' relaxation techniques” ( Elliot et al... ... middle of paper ... ...rsing home residents." Canadian Journal of Music Therapy 17.1 (2011): 55-68. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 23 Oct. 2011. Montello, L.M., & Coons, E.E. (1998). Effects of active versus passive group music therapy on préadolescents with emotional, learning and behavioral disorders. Journal of Music Therapy, 55, 49-67. Myskja.A. (2005). Therapeutic use of music in nursing homes. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen, 125(11).1497-9. Review. Payne, R A (2000) . Relaxation techniques: A practical handbook for the health care professionals. Edinburgh: Churchill-Livingstone. Spielberger, C. D. (1989). Stress and anxiety in Sport. In D. Hackfort & C. D. Spielberger (Eds.), Anxiety in sports: An international perspective (pp. 3-17). New York: Hemisphere Publishing Corporation. Trzcinski, J. (1994) Today’s music: Poetry or pornography? Corrections Today, 56(7), 148.

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