Research of Music Therapy
A recent Austrian study in the Journal of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics explored music therapy in the treatment of depression. Unlike previous studies of music therapy for depression treatment which lacked specific stimuli, used small samples, or had methodological shortcomings, this study was well-received. The study investigated two forms of receptive music therapy among depressed adults. Two hundred and three participants were screened online using the Goldberg Depression Questionnaire. The study design included four groups: music therapy 1 (MT1), music therapy 2 (MT2), placebo, and waiting-list control. Participants in MT1 and MT2 listened to types of music, and the placebo group heard recorded nature sounds. During the study’s central trial element, the participants were asked to strictly follow their assigned study protocol with the purpose of examining the effects of MT1 and MT2. Participants with audio programs were told they could not change from their assigned program to alternative music programs during the study’s central trial phase.
Researchers developed individualized music-focused audio therapies for MT1 and MT2 as receptive music therapies to treat depression. Participants in MT1 listened to newly composed polyphonic modern music, while participants in MT2 heard specifically arranged classical music. Both groups listened for a half hour, twice a day. Assessing depression status after the therapy, MT1 showed a significant positive effect, according to the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). The MT2 group did not show this effect. A significant positive effect was shown for both MT1 and MT2 on HAM-D and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HADS-D). MT2 participants, but not MT1 participants, showed a positive effect on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI). The placebo group did not show a significant change in any depression score. Based on these result in this study, receptive music therapy appears to reduce symptoms of depression. Researchers report that receptive music therapy, either by itself or with psychosocial and pharmacological treatments, can effectively alleviate depression.
How does music therapy help depression? In addition to the above answers, many patients simply enjoy music therapy and feel uplifted by it. And the benefits do not have to end. When patients complete professional treatment, they can use the therapeutic techniques learned to treat relapses of depression, or to improve a blue mood any time.