A couple days ago, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Department of Defense announced the launch of a new music therapy program at Walter Reed Medical Center. Music therapy will be joining art therapy and creative writing as a treatment option for wounded military personnel and their families. This program, supported in part through NEA's Operation Homecoming initiaitve, will focus not only on providing music therapy services to these patients, but—through a partnership with the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE)—will also research the efficacy of the treatment.
I had the distinct pleasure of participating in a media teleconference to announce the launch of this program. It was exciting to see so many organizations and people support and recognize the value of music therapy as a treatment option—the NEA, the Department of Defense (DOD), the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), NICoE. Even the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) is a part of this effort, providing information and support as needed.
But why add music therapy? There are already so many therapy and support services offered through Walter Reed's interdisciplinary approach—what can music therapy that's unique? Consider these three points:
During the media teleconference, DHHS Secretary Kathleen Sibelius talked about the emotional pull she felt as Governor watching citizens of her state deploying for service, then welcoming them back home again. It's this type of emotional pull that prompts many Americans to want to do what we can to help those who have served our country—soldiers and their families—fullfill as rich and healthy a life as possible. It's this emotional pull that makes it so exciting for me to see music therapy, as well as other creative art modalities, incorporated into military healthcare.
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Baker, F., & Wigram, T. (2004). The immediate and long-term effects of singing on the mood states of people with traumatic brain injury. British Journal of Music Therapy, 18(2), 55-64.
Baker, F., Wigram, T., & Gold, C. (2005). The effects of a song-singing programme on the
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Bradt, J., Magee, W. L., Dileo, C., Wheeler, B. L., & McGilloway E. (2010). Music therapy for acquired brain injury. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2010, Issue 7. Art. No.: CD006787. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD006787.pub2.
Guetin, S., Soua, B., Voiriot, G., Picot, M. C., Herisson, C. (2009). The effect of music therapy on mood and anxiety-depression: an observational study in institutionalised patients with traumatic brain injury. Ann Phys Rehabil Medicine, 52(1), 30-40.
Nayak, S., Wheeler, B. L., Shiflett, S. C., & Agostinelli, S. (2000). Effect of music therapy on mood and social interaction among individuals with acute traumatic brain injury and stroke. Rehabilitation Psychology, 45(3), 274-283.
Thaut, M. H., Gardiner, J. C., Holmberg, D., et al. (2009). Neurologic music therapy improves executive function and emotional adjustment in traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. Ann N Y Acad Sci., 1169, 406-16.
Wheeler, B. L., Shiflett, S. C., & Nayak, S. (2003). Effects of number of sessions and group or individual music therapy on the mood and behavior of people who have had strokes or traumatic brain injuries. Nordic Journal of Music Therapy. 12(2), 139-51.
Follow me on Twitter @KimberlySMoore for daily updates on the latest research and articles related to music, music therapy, and music and the brain. I invite you also to check out my website, www.MusicTherapyMaven.com, for additional information, resources, and strategies.