Healing Journey through Music Therapy


SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — It’s a frightening place to be. Confined to isolation in a hospital with a life-threatening illness. But that’s where four teens in San Francisco not only overcame their fears and sickness, but emerged alive and much more famous than when they went in.

It was a chart-topper even before she was born, but 17-year-old Clara Jackson used the song as a key piece of her recovery from an illness that could have killed her.

“They weren’t just away at the hospital being sick. They were away at the hospital and creating something,” Matt Logan, Music Therapist at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital told Ivanhoe.

Clara and three other teens had bone marrow transplants to live. That meant eight weeks of isolation. But a San Francisco music therapist used Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ to raise each teen’s spirits as well as connecting them.

Logan shared, “We have the ability to take our recording studio and go remote with it. I could go to each of their rooms and record. And we were able to layer this and combine it in such a way that it created this whole piece.”

“I think it was cool listening to all the voices when we started recording it. I wasn’t going to do it because I was shy. And then my mom was like this is a once in a lifetime thing,” Clara explained.

Clara’s mom, Martha Jackson, said, “When every time we see him come around with his music and his guitar and it was like I know we’re going to have a good time.”

Music therapy is designed to help hospital patients think beyond their immediate surroundings and to hope for a better tomorrow. Research shows it not only releases negative emotions, it improves heart rates and breathing.

Jessica Manning, Social Worker at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital said, “I think having music in a room will transform anyone.”

Clara explained, “It made me feel better. Put a smile on my face.”

Clara shared the recording with her family and, after she was released from isolation, she was able to meet the rest of her special hospital ‘quartet’.

“It was cool. Now we got four new friends,” Clara said excitedly.

The University of California San Francisco Hospital also recorded a music video of the quartet of patients-turned-singers and provided it to the patients so that they can share with family and friends. In addition to bone marrow transplants, music therapists, like Matt, work to treat anything from motor skill problems to stress.

Contributors to this news report include: Jennifer Winter, producer; Roque Correa, Editor and Rusty Reed, Videographer.

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REPORT #2514


BACKGROUND: Music therapy is a technique of complementary medicine that uses music and is offered by trained therapists. Programs are designed to help patients overcome physical, emotional, intellectual, and social challenges. Music therapy is used in many settings, including schools, rehabilitation centers, hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, community centers, and sometimes even in the home. Brain function physically changes in response to music. The rhythm can guide the body into breathing in slower, deeper patterns that have a calming effect. Heart rate and blood pressure are also responsive to the types of music that are listened to. Music can also relieve muscle tension, improve motor skills, and is often used to help rebuild physical patterning skills in rehabilitation clinics. Music therapy is an evidence-based health profession. Therapists must have a degree in music therapy and 1200 hours of clinical training. These degrees require knowledge in psychology, medicine, and music.

(Source: http://www.encyclopedia.com/medicine/divisions-diagnostics-and-procedures/medicine/music-therapy and http://thriveworks.com/blog/music-therapy/)

BENEFITS OF MUSIC THERAPY: The therapeutic use of music has been able to help people in ways that other forms of therapy have not. It can sometimes elicit responses that may not appear through more traditional forms of treatment. When people find it difficult to express themselves verbally, they may display a greater degree of interest and engagement in music therapy than they would in a more traditional form of therapy. Because music can evoke positive emotions and stimulate reward centers in the brain, music therapy is often able to alleviate symptoms of mental health concerns like depression, anxiety, autism, and insomnia. The positive effects of music therapy are not limited to those coping with severe or long-lasting physical and psychological problems. This therapy can benefit people in a variety of situations. Music is frequently used to reduce stress levels and pain perception among mothers in labor and has been associated with improvements in self-esteem, self-concept, verbal communication, prosocial behavior, socialization skills, group cohesion, and coping skills.

(Source: https://www.goodtherapy.org/learn-about-therapy/types/music-therapy)

BREAKTHROUGHS IN MUSIC THERAPY: The Clinician’s Guide to Forensic Music Therapy, by Dr. Stella Compton Dickinson and Dr. Laurien Hakvoort, London-based music therapy researchers, is the first book to offer clear, evidence-based manuals for forensic music therapists in the treatment and recovery of men and women in secure hospitals and prisons. Unlike using only recreational music, the models described in the book have a rigorous evidence base of clinical effectiveness and are tailored for vulnerable adults, many of whom have been traumatized early in their lives. The book provides information and advice on how to deliver, effectively and safely, two context-specific, systematic approaches in forensic music therapy. Since all inmates and patients in prisons and secure hospitals have committed offenses, the issue of whether or not they are treatable and how this may be undertaken effectively is the focus of the book. The issues addressed include whether and how forensic music therapists can tailor their services to people with identified mental health problems and learning impairments, where therapy would be indicated, as well as how to develop music therapy treatments for the non-clinical populations found in prisons.

(Source: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20170429/New-book-offers-guidance-on-how-to-deliver-systematic-approaches-in-forensic-music-therapy.aspx)

ADDITIONAL LINKS: https://www.news-medical.net/news/20170802/Music-therapy-helps-strengthen-muscle-activity-in-people-with-Parkinsons-disease.aspx and https://www.musictherapy.org/

* For More Information, Contact:

 Matt Logan, Music Therapist, (415) 502-4722           Suzanne Leigh, University Relations, (415) 476-2993

Matthew.Logan@ucsf.edu                                         Suzanne.Leigh@ucsf.edu