What is Music Therapy?


MT SessionMay was Music Therapy Month! Founded in 1950, Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy degree program. (American Music Therapy Association definition, 2005) There are more than 65 years of research behind Music Therapy.

In everyday terms, Music Therapy is the art and science of using music to achieve emotional, physical, mental and spiritual well-being. Music has been used as a healing tool for over 30,000 years. The vibrations, rhythms, and harmonies of music profoundly affect the human body, and as a result, can produce healing and promote wellness.

As a music therapist, I assess the emotional well being, communication abilities and cognitive skills through the musical responses of my clients. I then determine which of the client’s goals can be supported by music therapy and develop programs for them which will include techniques such as therapeutic singing, music-cued social and communication scripts, musical mnemonics training, developmental speech and language training, and more. As the client progresses, there is ongoing evaluation and follow up.

Children and adults who can benefit from music therapy include those with developmental disabilities, mental health needs, PTSD, can benefit from music therapy. I’ve witnessed children with severe developmental disabilities become transformed by the healing power of music as I’ve worked with them. Even those who are nonverbal can find their voice through music. Music can help children integrate previous therapy experiences while they have fun doing it.

In addition, current research shows that music is effective in reducing pain and anxiety related to chronic and acute pain. It also can strengthen the immune system as well as induce deep relaxation and profound meditation.

Here are some fast facts about music therapy:

  • There were 6,000 Board Certified Therapists in the U.S. in 2015
  • A professional music therapist holds a baccalaureate degree or higher in music therapy. There are over 70 approved Music Therapy Degree Programs in the United States.
  • Music therapy can be funded through Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, special education and state departments of mental health.
  • The benefits of music therapy are supported by substantial research and evidence based experience.
  • Services can be accessed in clinics or schools.

As a licensed Mental Health Counselor and Board Certified Music Therapist, I’m passionate about helping others to find hope and healing in their lives.

If you’d like to learn more about the transformational power of music therapy in your life or someone you love, I invite you to call our office at 509-979-4357 to discuss your individual situation and how I can help you.

Kim McMillin

RN, MA, MT-BC, RPT, LMHC, LMFT (CO)
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Board Certified Music Therapist
I am passionate about helping others to find the goodness within them and to heal the barriers that prevent them from embracing the Light of Goodness inside. Each of us comes into this world as a magnificent Sun. What often trips us up is that we learn to identify with the clouds -- ugly things...

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1315 N. Napa
Spokane, WA 99202

Music therapy for autism and developmental disabilities serving the Spokane, WA area.
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- Family with a Developmentally Disabled Son - Boulder, Colorado
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