What is music therapy?

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Music therapy is the planned use of music to assist in the healing and growth of people with emotional, intellectual, physical or social challenges. Music therapy at Raukatauri is delivered by our Registered Music Therapists via a clinical practice rooted in the humanistic model of music therapy which recognizes each individual’s uniqueness and worth.

An inborn responsiveness to music exists regardless of disability, injury, illness or environment and is not dependent on musical training or background. Music therapy does not require special skills or talent, and our team doesn’t expect clients to play, sing or behave in any certain way. Our services focus on the client’s strengths, creating an engaging and motivating environment in which children and adults can learn and grow. Our strengths-based approach also makes music therapy a positive experience for parents and caregivers, as it allows them to celebrate what their family member is capable of, rather than being reminded of his or her challenges.

In music therapy sessions, each person actively engages with a Registered Music Therapist through music improvised uniquely with them, as well as through favourite songs and musical activities. Clients interact and communicate with their therapist, expressing their personalities, ideas and emotions in whatever musical way they can – through instruments, voice and movement. Some sessions are playful and exuberant, others joyful and dynamic, and some others introspective and thoughtful. All are expressive of the individual, empowered by his or her relationship with the therapist and focused on achieving the goals that have been developed in collaboration with the family.

Each client’s goals are developed individually and may focus on:

  • improved communication abilities

  • increased independence, self-confidence and self-awareness

  • strengthened interpersonal relationships and reduced isolation

  • improved attention, learning and memory

  • reduced anxiety and improved self-regulation

All of our therapists have university degrees in music therapy and are registered through Music Therapy New Zealand. They have had extensive training in music, psychology and human development which allow them to accomplish outcomes, which are supported by international research, such as:

  • increased expressive and receptive language skills for children with developmental delays

  • improved social interactions for children with autism spectrum disorder

  • improved motor skill development for individuals with cerebral palsy

  • positive mood changes and reduced anxiety for those with dementia

  • redirection of aggression and anger into creative expression for individuals with mental health diagnoses

  • physiological improvements, such as reduced pain, relaxed muscle tension and improved respiration, for those with physical illnesses

  • increased motivation and success during learning tasks for children with intellectual disabilities

  • more secure relationships between parents and their infants or toddlers with special needs