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Depression Responds to Music?

Posted Oct 03 2008 12:52pm

That is the suggestion found in this article.  The article makes no promises, stating their suggestion is based on only five studies, all with small sample sizes.  The authors simply state that future research is recommended, given these preliminary results. 

A couple of things.  First, I wish the article had discussed, even a little bit, the methodology of the studies.  Was music therapy offered as an alternative to medication and/or psychotherapy, or was it part of a comprehensive intervention?  Ethically, one might have some trouble prescribing only music therapy to a treatment group as part of a truly randomized study.  One could, however, utilize music therapy (which is not defined in the article) with a treatment group in addition to medication and/or psychotherapy, with the control group receiving only the medication and/or psychotherapy, and then examine whether the music therapy adds anything to the treatment benefit.

Second, the article fails to describe what music therapy is.  Do clients simply listen to music for a prescribed period of time each day, or do they also discuss/journal/learn to play?  Does the client choose the music, or are some styles suggested?  Certainly, music (as well as other art) has been used by people throughout the ages as a method of coping with various emotional states, as it provides expression of feeling in a manner that allows for mastery of the the emotion.  Heck, many would argue that without emotional problems, no great art would be produced.  So, this is an area worth exploring, I would simply be more interested in the details...

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