Music Therapy For Depression: Methods, Benefits, Treatment And More!

Medical Condition


Published on: 23-Mar-2024


10 min read




Anushka Tripathi


Music Therapy For Depression: Methods, Benefits, Treatment And More!

Music Therapy For Depression: Methods, Benefits, Treatment And More!

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Dear, readers, do you know that music has the power to heal and transform lives? It can evoke emotions and memories and foster bonds with other people. Many people understand music’s ability to evoke memories or transport them to another place. The power of music is clear, but many people don't realise that music can help curb depression and anxiety. However, there is a growing community of therapists using the power of music for healing.  

People who become certified music therapists are typically trained musicians with knowledge of how music can evoke emotional responses, relax or stimulate people, and help them heal. Studies have shown that music can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety by distracting from negative thoughts and emotions. In this blog, we will discuss the details of music therapy for depression and different methods of this therapy that can benefit your wellbeing. Read on to know more.  


Table Of Contents 

1. What Is Music Therapy For Depression?  

2. What Are The 4 Methods Of Music Therapy? 

3. Who Can Benefit From Music Therapy?   

4. Can You Use Music Therapy To Treat Depression? 

5. How Does Music Therapy Work? 

6. Expert’s Advise 

7. The Final Say 

8. FAQs  

9. References   


What Is Music Therapy For Depression?  

Music therapy for depression and anxiety means using music and/or its elements (sound, rhythm, harmony, etc.) to achieve the goal of improving quality of life. A medical professional called a music therapist will talk with you to learn more about your needs, musical preferences, and experiences and customise each session for you. 

The number of sessions, how long each session lasts and what is done will depend on the individual approach. Music therapy for depression may include singing, playing an instrument, or composing music. Some activities may include listening to music and discussing its meaning.    

However, the definition of clinical music therapy for depression states that a qualified music therapist must plan and conduct sessions within the framework of a therapeutic relationship to qualify for this form of therapy. Music therapy helps people of all ages (children, teenagers, and adults) and from all walks of life. This can help with many aspects of your well-being, including:   

  • Mental  

  • Emotional   

  • Physical   

  • Social 

  • Congenital   

This form of treatment can help people with depression and anxiety and can also help improve the quality of life of people with physical health problems. Anyone can do music therapy. You don’t need a musical background to experience the beneficial effects.  


What Are The 4 Methods Of Music Therapy?  

There are many different types of music therapy for depression that you must know about and are mentioned below:  

Analytical Music Therapy 

In this therapy, relational model uses music to explore relationships between self, others, and music. This is a type of psychotherapy based on the analytic tradition that promotes self-exploration through music.  

Benenzon’s Music Therapy 

This type of nonverbal psychotherapy uses nonverbal techniques based on body sounds to process and analyse the relationship between therapist and client with the goal of improving the client's well-being.  

Cognitive Behavioral Music Therapy 

Combines cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) with music to introduce clients to CBT concepts while using music as a non-verbal facilitation tool.   

Bonnie Guided Imagery and Music Method (GIM) 

This is a form of transformative psychotherapy that uses selected passages of classical music for encouraging and supporting the processing of experiences through guided imagery.11 Hayes School of Music. It's a great way to bring out your imagination and music. 


Who Can Benefit From Music Therapy  

Music therapy can help many people. The versatile nature of music means it is be used to treat both physical and mental problems. In some cases, using music therapeutically can help people in ways that other forms of therapy cannot. That's because music can sometimes trigger reactions that don't occur in more traditional forms of therapy.  

When people have difficulty expressing themselves verbally, they may become more interested in and engaged with music therapy than traditional forms of therapyBecause music evokes positive emotions and stimulates the brain's reward centres, music therapy can often relieve symptoms of mental health problems, including:   


1. Depression  

Music therapy can provide an outlet for expressing emotions and accessing buried feelings, offering a non-verbal form of communication for those who struggle to articulate their emotions. Through carefully selected music and guided sessions, individuals with depression can experience mood improvements, increased self-awareness, and a sense of connection with others. 

2. Anxiety 

Music has the power to calm the nervous system and reduce anxiety levels. By listening to soothing music or engaging in rhythmic activities like drumming or singing, individuals with anxiety can experience relaxation, distraction from worrisome thoughts, and improved coping mechanisms for managing stress and anxiety triggers. 

3. Schizophrenia 

Music therapy can help individuals with schizophrenia by providing a structured and predictable environment that promotes emotional expression and social interaction. Engaging in musical activities can enhance cognitive functioning, increase self-esteem, and foster a sense of identity and purpose, contributing to overall symptom management and quality of life. 

4. Substance Dependency 

Music therapy can be a valuable tool in addiction recovery by offering a healthy and constructive outlet for emotional expression and self-reflection. Through music-based interventions, individuals in recovery can develop alternative coping strategies, build social support networks, and experience a sense of joy and fulfilment that reduces the urge to engage in substance use. 

Additionally, music therapy can help with autism, personality issues, insomnia and dementia. Music therapy can assess and improve cognitive, social, emotional and motor functions, and studies have shown positive results among people suffering from intellectual or physical difficulties, brain injury or Alzheimer's disease. This type of therapy has also been used to treat physical illnesses such as cancer and high blood pressure.   


Can You Use Music Therapy To Treat Depression?  

Depression is a common mental health disorder observed by persistent feelings of lowness, decreased interest, and loss of pleasure. Music therapy can help regulate mood and emotions. Music intervention is an important non-pharmacological intervention used in the treatment of mental and behavioural disorders and has clear therapeutic effects on depression.   

Music therapy for depression and anxiety is a growing field. People who become certified music therapists are typically trained musicians with knowledge of how music can evoke emotional responses, relax or stimulate people, and help them heal. They combine this knowledge with different music styles to find specific genres to help people suffering from depression get through difficult times. 

A review published last year in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews evaluating music therapy research for the treatment of depression provided some support for using music therapy for depression. Patients showed greater reductions in depression symptoms when they combined music therapy with medication psychotherapy (or talk therapy) or a combination therapy compared to traditional therapy alone for short periods of time or up to three months.  

It is important to note that music therapy for depression is an adjunctive treatment and not an exclusive means of treatment.   

A 2010 study of about 200 people with depression found that those who listened to contemporary or classical music for 30 minutes twice a day for five weeks saw marked improvements in their scores on several depression rating scales. A 2011 review of studies in which adults with depression listened to music without seeing a therapist found that participants' symptoms improved in 11 of 17 studies.  


How Music Therapy Can Help Depression?  

It is said that listening to music positively impacts your mental health, quality of life, and happiness. Music has the power to influence your emotions and moodsYour brain releases dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and reward when you listen to music. It helps in making you feel happier, more relaxed, and less stressed. Also, listening to music can lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.    

Listening to music slows your breathing and heart rate, lowers blood pressure, and relieves muscle tension. This will help you feel calmer and more relaxed. 

Music can be used during meditation or as a relaxation method before going to bed to help you fall asleep. Soft, slow music can help slow down your body and mind, making it easier to relax and fall asleep. This will improve your sleep quality and help you wake up more rested. Therefore, music therapy can be an effective treatment for depression and anxiety.  


How Does Music Therapy Work?  

All aspects of music such as pitch, tempo, and melody, are regulated by different areas of the brain. For example, the cerebellum processes rhythm, the frontal lobe decodes emotional signals generated by music, and a small part of the right temporal lobe helps us understand pitch

The brain's reward centre, called the nucleus accumbens, can also produce strong signals of physical pleasure, such as the goosebumps you get when listening to powerful music. Music therapy helps people with mental health issues by tapping into the body's deep physical response to music.  


Expert’s Advice  

Music can bring people together and even heal. Music therapy exploits these possibilities of music in a clinical context. You will work with your music therapist to set goals and work to achieve them. Your therapist will talk with you every step of the way to find out how you are feeling. They design each session specifically for you and will continue to tailor sessions to suit your changing interests and needs 


Dt. Lavina Chauhan  


The Final Say  

Although music therapy does not cure mental illness, it can be an effective and enjoyable tool in reducing symptoms of a variety of conditions, including depression and anxiety. People have been using music for a long time because of its powerful effect on mood and emotions.  

In addition to helping with mental illness, music therapy for depression also has many other benefits, such as providing a creative outlet, increasing knowledge and cultural awareness, and improving cognitive abilities such as memory.  



1. Why music as therapy for depression is effective? 

Music helps in enhancing motivation, self‐image, and coping mechanisms in difficult emotional states. The music therapist helps individuals process feelings that music has aroused. Music therapy is an effective and enjoyable way to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other conditions. 


2. What are the benefits of music therapy for depression? 

Here are some of the benefits of music therapy for depression at home: 

  • Helps you relax. 

  • Helps you explore your emotions. 

  • Reduces anxiety or depression. 

  • Eases your stress levels. 

  • Regulates your mood. 

  • Strengthens your communication skills. 

  • Improves speaking and language skills. 

  • Builds social skills. 


3. What are the music therapy ideas for mental health? 

Here are some of the music therapy techniques for depression: 

  • Writing and singing songs. 

  • Improvising on songs and music pieces. 

  • Playing a musical instrument. 

  • Using musical devices and technology. 

  • Listening to music. 

  • Exchanging information through music. 


4. How does music therapy help depression? 

Music therapy for depression and anxiety is an intervention that involves regular meetings with a qualified music therapist and may help improve mood through emotional expression. 


5. What is the practical approach to music treatment for depression? 

Music helps in reducing the symptoms of depression and anxiety by providing a positive distraction from negative thoughts and emotions. Listening to music activates the brain's reward system, releasing dopamine and other feel-good chemicals that can improve mood and reduce stress. That is how Music therapy for overcoming depression and anxiety can be seen. 




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