What is Music Therapy?

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Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. 

After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients' abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words.

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Who Benefits From Music Therapy?

¨ Autism and other Pervasive Developmental Disabilities

¨ Critical Care

¨ Acquired Brain Injury

¨ Emotional Trauma

¨ Palliative Care

¨ Physical Disabilities

¨ Speech and Language Impairments

¨ Victims of Abuse

¨ Geriatric Care

¨ Neonatal Care

¨ Oncology

¨ Obstetrics

¨ Teens at Risk

¨ Substance Abuse

¨ Mental Health



Possible Goals of Music Therapy:

¨ Improve expressive and receptive language

¨ Promote reality orientation

¨ Improve memory skills

¨ Increase on-task behavior

¨ Maintain/improve fine and/or gross motor functioning

¨ Improve eye/hand coordination

¨ Decrease stress and anxiety

¨ Improve social interaction with others

¨ Improve appropriate eye contact

¨ Improve ability to make choices and initiate responses

¨ Improve ability to participate in appropriate play activities

¨ Improve interpersonal skills

¨ Improve ability to accept praise and give praise to others

¨ Decrease isolation


What Do Music Therapists Do?

Assessment: Obtain information relevant to the client. This may include relevant history, speaking with other therapists, doctors, or teachers. This will also involve a music therapy specific assessment geared toward target areas.

Treatment Planning: Develop music therapy strategies to address short and long-term goals and objectives

Implementation: Provide evidence-based music therapy strategies and interventions to address identified goals and objectives.

Evaluation and documentation: Collect and compile data relevant to client responses and progress, utilizing the finding to make decisions about music therapy services.

Source: www.musictherapy.org


 About the therapist:

Shelly Gilman, MT-BC

Board Certified Music Therapist

After Completing her clinical internship at the University of Utah’s Neuropsychiatric Institute, Shelly graduated cum laude from Utah State University in 1998 with a Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy. She successfully passed her board examination and was granted MT-BC by the Certification Board for Music Therapy.

Shelly finds joy in working with a variety of individuals who have developmental disabilities, psychiatric diagnosis, and those who need continuing care.

She is an accomplished clarinetist and musician, playing with the Utah Festival Opera Company, the Treasure Valley Symphony and Treasure Valley Wind Symphony. She lives in Ontario, Oregon with her husband and four children.