Music Therapy

What Is Music Therapy?

Canadian Association for Music Therapy (CAMT) defines Music therapy as “the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health.” ( Music is a non threatening expressive agent that allows people to explore their emotions, lives and relationship through creative experience. Also, because of its engaging nature and because it’s simply fun, music can be used as a “reinforce” for desired responses.

Examples of Music Therapy goals:

Because music is fun, music is effective in motivating and engaging individuals with special needs to meet academic, social, and/or physical goals in fun and positive way.

The examples of music therapy goals include, but are not limited to:

  • To provide a safe environment for self-expression and choice-making
  • To provide opportunities to release stress physically and emotionally through singing, drumming and the use of other instruments
  • To facilitate communication
  • To develop/improve social skills
  • To help acquire/retain academic information
  • To increase attention span
  • To improve fine and gross motor skills through the use of musical instruments
  • To encourage relaxation and calming
  • To reduce feelings of isolation

*It’s important to note that music therapy is NOT the same as musical instruction. If the main goal is to build vocal or instrumental skills, you’ll need to find an instructor instead of or in addition to a music therapist.

>>Also Offering Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music

What is Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (BMGIM)?

Association for Music and Imagery defines BMGIM as follows:

“The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music is a music-centred, consciousness-expanding therapy developed by Helen Bonny. Therapists trained in the Bonny Method choose classical music sequences that stimulate journeys of the imagination. Experiencing imagery in this way facilitates clients’ integration of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual aspects of well-being. “

BMGIM incorporates music listening in deeply relaxed state to evoke imagery that allows a client to access and explore life issues, and is used to help clients with wide range of life issues and emotional difficulties, including stress, anxiety, grief, trauma, etc. Images in response to music are not limited to visual images, but come in a variety forms, including, sensations, feelings, past memories, past and present life reviews, symbols, etc.

A typical individual session lasts 1.5 to 2 hours.

Group sessions are also available.

Are there ways to cover the cost of music therapy sessions?

Music therapy is not usually covered by health care and extended health care plans. There are some exceptions, such as Worksafe BC, ICBC and funding for autism.

MTABC is part of the Task Group for Counsellor Regulation in BC. This group is lobbying the BC government for music therapists and other counselors and therapists to be regulated under the Health Professions Act. Once this is approved, it is anticipated that music therapy services will be approved under private insurance plans.

Funding for children with autism

The Ministry of Children and Family Development will give block funding to parents/guardians which can cover music therapy for children ages six to nineteen years. Music therapy is called an Autism Related Intervention. The family can choose to have the money placed in their account and then pay the therapist directly, or, have the therapist contact the Ministry and send them invoices. At this time, this service ends when the child reaches the age of nineteen years. For further questions, people can contact the Autism Funds Processing Unit at 1-877-777-3530.

Funding for Head Injury

Some individuals with a head injury can apply for funding through ICBC if they can show pre-morbidity musical involvement.

Other possible sources of funding

Some special needs children may apply for funding through adoption services, and Variety Club and CKNW have been known to fund music therapy, as well. Clients and families usually complete these applications.