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Approaches to Music Therapy
Transcript of Approaches to Music Therapy
Analytical Music Therapy,
Benenzon Music Therapy,
The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music,
and Behavioral Music Therapy
represent the “Five International Models of Music Therapy Practice,”
which were defined and presented
at the 1999 World Congress in Washington D.C.
This presentation offers an overview of each,
as well Neurological Music Therapy,
Music Education approaches,
and includes a brief discussion of other considerations. The Nordoff-Robbins model approaches Music Therapy with the belief that each and every person, irregardless of illness or level of ability, is capable of responding to music. Composer and pianist Paul Nordoff and trained special educator Clive Robbins designed this improvisational model in order to create music as therapy with clients, rather than to perform music for the clients. Emulating these founder’s style, therapists may work in pairs such that one focuses on the musical relationship and the other focuses on a child’s responses and their engagement.
Process and progress of therapy is traditionally documented through case studies. Scales have been developed to measure across thirteen categories of responses, musical response, the child-therapist relationship, and musical communicativeness. The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) is an exploration of consciousness. Helen L. Bonny combined relaxation techniques with classical music to facilitate transcendental self-awareness and to harmonize mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual components of well-being. Music selections are specifically sequenced so as to initiate and maintain the dynamic unfolding of imagery experiences. Analytical Music Therapy (AMT) originated from psychoanalysis, but also focuses on communication theories, developmental psychological theories on the psychosocial development of personality. Free expression through sound offers opportunities to become more aware of feelings, difficulties, problems, thoughts, and memories. The therapist facilitates free expression and exploration, placing freedom and structure as necessary. Therapeutic dialogue following such “day-dream” or “associative” improvisations attempts to have their experiences or recent dreams, as well as the interplay and transference phenomena, verbalized and subsequently analyzed.
AMT uses Intertherapy as a training method, whereby two trainees take turns assuming therapist and patient roles under professional supervision. The Benenzon Model of Music Therapy (BMMT) was founded by Rolando Benenzon who born in Buenos Aires, Argentina in 1939 and is now considered the father of Music Therapy in Latin America. BMMT is about communication and sharing. It is psychoanalytic in its symbolic use of music and consideration of the mechanisms of regression or analysis of transference and countertransference phenomena, yet recognizes the musical centers within patients, or the Musical Sound Identity (ISO). The ISO principle recognizes the sonorous energies of the individual, groups of people, circumstance, natural and social environments, and the human race before then attempting to therapeutically modify or influence those energies.
Benenzon first researched and provided clinical interventions for children, adolescents, and adults with autism and broadened his focus to the theme of isolation.
BMMT lasts a minimum of six months and may continue for several years. Treatment consists primarily of nonverbal active music improvisation with communicative intent. The music created concentrates of the elements of sound rather than conventional musical structure. Patients “attempt to know the code” of the sonorous data, internalize it, and search for answers. An intermediary object, often a homemade musical instrument, opens channels of communication. Behavioral Music Therapy (BMT), grounded in the verifiable and replicable nature of research, is the “scientific application of music to accomplish therapeutic aims whether they are behavioral, developmental, and/or medical. It is the use of music and the therapist’s self to influence changes in behavior. It relies upon learning principles and concentrates on assessment and remedial programs based upon the environmental control of behavior. Behavior is modified by explicitly arranging the consequences of responses based upon reinforcement principles.”
Music is selected, improvised, and created in order to shape an individual’s behavior by serving as a cue, as a time and body movement structure, as a focus of attention, and as a reward.
Experimental procedures are used in order to study observable behavioral responses in relation to environmental stimuli. Behavioral Music Therapists may condition, counter-condition, extinguish, desensitize,
role-play, train or retrain, and use relaxation, conditioned avoidance responses, self-disclosure, emotive imagery, modeling, negative practice to satiation, expressive-rational approaches, and stimulus deprivation. Behavioral Music Therapy should perhaps be considered Cognitive-Behavioral Music Therapy because it is practiced with thinking and reasoning conscious beings.
Also within the model of BMT, the practice of Medical Music Therapy requires special training and has perhaps evolved into a specialized model. Approaches to Neurological Music Therapy (NMT) is a research-based system of standardized techniques. NMT focuses on the perception and production of music, and the functional changes in nonmusical brain and behavior functions under the influence of music. This model is based on neuroscience and studies the brain with and without music, measures the differences, and applies music such that the client will eventually be effected non-musically.
Specific clinical techniques are codified and represented with acronyms, i.e., Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation (RAS), Melodic Intonation Therapy (MMIT), Therapeutic Singing (TS), Music Psychotherapy and Counseling (MPC), etc.
Training for NMT requires additional education in neuroanatomy, physiology, brain pathologies, medical terminology, and rehabilitation of cognitive and/or motor functions. Must one be a certified Music Therapist to provide music therapy? Surely the phenomenal experience or personal use of music can be considered therapeutic.
Music functions as a spiritual path of Indian yoga and awakens the human organism, calms the mind, subdues emotion provoking situations, and facilitates development unto the extent of self-realization.
Music’s use in religion extends well beyond recorded history and could be considered human necessity, let alone therapy. There are several models of Music Education which may be applied within a therapeutic context.
The Orff Schulwerk Approach combines music, movement, drama, and speech such that sessions emulate a child’s world of play.
Dalcroze Eurhythmics uses movement to teach rhythm, structure, and musical expression through all of the senses, especially kinesthetic.
The Kodály Concept uses folk songs, hand signs, pictures, rhythm symbols and syllables.
Kindermusik and Music Therapy is an early childhood education music and movement program whose curriculum is revised with emerging child development, music, and education research to develop cognitive, emotional, social, physical, language, and musical foundations. The field of Music Therapy is difficult to define. Just as distinguishing music itself as either an art or a science is impossible,
categorizing the various approaches to Music Therapy
may be subjective and is certainly complex.
How one approaches Music Therapy will be informed by various models,
but in application may be as eclectic as those practicing
and unique as each person receiving therapy. References
abc Medical Tourism staff. Benenzon Music Therapy Method. Retrieved from
Darrow, Alice-Ann. (2004). Introduction to Approaches in Music Therapy.
Silver Spring, MD: The American Music Therapy Association.
Eschen, Johannes Th. (2002). Analytical Music Therapy. Great Britain: Athenaeum
Press, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear.
Mardis, Linda K. & Clark, Marilyn. (2012). The Bonny Method. The Association for
Music & Imagery. Retrieved from http://www.ami-bonnymethod.orgNews
Medical staff. Indian Music Therapy. Retrieved from
Roth, Edward A. Rhythmicity and Brain Function: Towards a Scientific Model of
Music in Therapy. [Powerpoint slides]. Retrieved from
Pedersen, Inge N., & Bonde, Lars O. (2002). A Comprehensive
Guide to Music Therapy: Theory, Clinical Practice, Research and Training.
Great Britain: Athenaeum Press, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear. James E. Riley, MT-BC Florida State University