Music Therapy and Medicine: Theoretical and Clinical Applications

By Vega, Victoria P. | Journal of Music Therapy, Summer 2004 | Go to article overview

Music Therapy and Medicine: Theoretical and Clinical Applications


Vega, Victoria P., Journal of Music Therapy


Dileo, C. (Ed.) (1999). Music therapy and medicine: Theoretical and clinical applications. Silver Spring, MD: American Music Therapy Association, Inc. (211 pages).

This book is an updated compliment to Dileo-Maranto's 1991 "Applications of Music in Medicine." The 1991 text composed of 14 chapters focused on the history of music and medicine, physiological applications of music in medicine, clinical applications of music and medicine, and applications of performing arts medicine. The current Dileo text also defines key music therapy and medicine methods but dwells deeper into cutting edge clinical applications currently used in music therapy practice.

This book provides valuable information that is useful to music therapy students and professionals raising pertinent questions such as the following: What theoretical orientations do music therapists practice within medical music therapy? What are the different approaches that music therapists use when treating patients in this arena? What are the different clinical populations thai music therapists work within music therapy and medicine? What are the common treatment goals within music therapy and medicine?

Dileo makes the distinction between music medicine, medical music therapy, and performing arts medicine in her introductory chapter. The areas of theoretical orientation in medical music therapy are very diverse and identified by Dileo as the following: medical, behavioral/cognitive, behavioral medicine, humanistic, neurological, homeodynamic, developmental, gestalt, transpersonal/ spiritual, anthroposophic, physics, psychological, psychoanalytic existential, communication theory, and wellness. This section provides an overview of clinical orientations used by the various authors in the book.

Part 1 addresses several receptive methods of music therapy and medicine. In Chapter 2 by Schwartz and Ritchie, the clinical needs of infants in the neonatal intensive care unit are addressed. The focus of music therapy with this population is to create a desirable environment where positive behavioral and physiological changes may occur. justice and Kasayka discuss Guided Imagery and Music with the medical patient in Chapter 3. They use a holistic approach in treating illness extenuating the importance of the interrelationship of the mind, body, and spirit where all domains must function in harmony for healing to occur. In Chapter 4, Butler discusses the importance of the clinician's expertise and the therapeutic relationship with the client in furthering the health of post-surgical and critically ill patients. History and research to support the use of physioacoustics with critically ill patients is also discussed. Saperston, in Chapter 5, defines music-based individualized relaxation training (MBIRT) in the medical setting. he presents assumptions for using this approach based on research in this area and his own clinical experiences. In Chapter 6, Reitman defines music performance anxiety and explores ethical considerations in working with this area. The author specifically describes an eight-session MusicAssisted Coping Systematic Desensitization (MACSD) procedure. Edwards, in Chapter 7, discusses the use of music in anxiety management before, during, and after medical procedures with pediatrie patients.

Part 2 presents improvisational and re-creative approaches with a variety of medical clients. David and Gudrun Aldridge present improvisation as a treatment with patients with life-threatening illness in Chapter 8. The role of music in coping with the stages of illness is also outlined. …

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