A Music Therapist is part of an employment subgroup of creative arts therapists who use the arts to treat mental illness, provide support for individuals with disabilities, and to promote wellness and personal growth and creativity. Music therapists create a therapeutic and supportive environment which taps into non-verbal processes to facilitate emotional, physical and mental change. It is effective with individuals who may have difficulty expressing themselves in normal ways; for example, children who have experienced trauma prior to the development of language skills, or people who have gone through profound trauma and cannot express it verbally. Children and adults who are developmentally disabled and unable to express themselves verbally can often communicate through the arts and music.
Music therapists use techniques like relaxation, guided imagery and improvisation, and they incorporate sound, music, and rhythm in a way to engage clients. Music therapy is a clinical and evidence-based therapy technique that has been proven to achieve individual and group goals when applied by a qualified professional. Music is known to affect people not just physiologically by changing heart beat, blood pressure, temperature and breathing rate. Music also decreases feelings of isolation and lack of control, and it can open up spiritual vistas and help access and release repressed emotion. Music therapy is effective for anxiety reduction, depression, pain management, coping with stress, self-expression, and much more. Music is also a powerful means to promote group unity.