Crisis Situations and Music Therapy

Can music help you in crisis situations? It does have a place as a coping mechanism. Singing while your house burns down may not be very helpful, but music can help you deal with the loss afterward.

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) calls music therapy “second-wave” relief from traumatic events. Once the initial shock has worn off, music therapy can help to reduce stress and anxiety, and provide familiarity and security—eventually leading to positive feelings and greater confidence.

Music can be a great form of release after a crisis.

The release could be through physical relaxation—slowing the heart and respiration rate, lowering blood pressure, and, if you were physically hurt in the traumatic event, reducing pain.

It could also be cathartic by helping you to release pent-up feelings and work through negative emotions such as anger and helplessness. Positive musical associations can assist you in regaining your sense of control and confidence as you relax and put your trauma in larger perspective.

While you can find a qualified music therapist through the ATMA, you may be able to achieve some relief even if you do not have access to one. You probably know your own musical tastes and how to set a mood for yourself.

Give yourself a bit of time to accept what has happened, and then let your favorite music help you cope with the aftermath.

Of course, you don’t have to limit the therapeutic use of music to what most people would call crisis situations. If you feel that running out of your favorite ice cream flavor is a crisis and music can help you cope, who are we to argue?

Thank you for reading

Elio Pagliarulo


Empowering People With Music



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