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July 2008

Music Therapy May Help Depression
By Maratos a, et al. from Harvard Mental Health Letter May 2008
By Sandy Plone, Ph.D.

The International Cochrane Collaoration reviewed a small group of studies and concluded that music therapy may help some people with depression. While many of us may feel this is an intuitively sound conclusion, it is supportive to learn that researchers are following up with some rigorous studies.

While there are many types of music therapy available, these researchers only examined those studies that involved music therapy carried out within a structured therapeutic framework that involved some type of musical interaction with a therapist or other patients. Mood symptoms were assessed through standardized instruments, the duration of therapy varied from six to ten weeks, while the type of interventions also varied. Some included guided imagery along with music; others encouraged participants to listen to music and then discuss it

The reviewers cautioned that they were not prepared to conclude that music therapy is an effective treatment for those with depression, but certainly worth considering as an adjunct to other treatments. Or, as this reviewer of the studies thinks, adding soothing music to our lives may be wise as a preventative to depression.


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