Meet the Dallas Doctors Using Music for Therapy
Music can be incredibly therapeutic. Whether it's keeping us from road rage during rush hour traffic, helping us fall asleep, or uniting us with others as we sing along at a concert, music has a certain unique healing power.
Children's Medical Center Dallas
Locally, the Windsor Senior Living facility in Dallas uses music to help people with Alzheimer's disease recall old memories. But music therapy can be helpful to people of all ages. Children's Medical Center Dallas, which has the largest music therapy program in DFW, even utilizes music therapy for the newborns in its Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy consists of "using music therapeutically to address physical, psychological, cognitive and/or social functioning for patients of all ages." It's used to help patients manage stress, alleviate pain, enhance memory, improve communication and promote physical rehabilitation.
Southern Methodist University is one of only about 59 accredited music therapy schools in the country, and one of only six such schools in Texas. Dr. Robert Krout, the Director of Music Therapy at SMU, says that music therapy, which became a recognized profession in 1950, has especially taken off in hospitals, for both adults and children, in the last twenty years.
Children's, which was the first hospital in Dallas to offer music therapy in the mid-'90s, now has four music therapists, who specialize in different areas. The hospital believes in a holistic therapy that's designed to improve a patient's physical, psychological and emotional health, and music therapy plays a significant role on the psychological and emotional side of things.
Lisa Jones, who's been with Children's for about 15 years, is the Music Therapy Team Supervisor and specializes in oncology and grief counseling. While music therapy is similar in some ways to traditional therapy, Jones noted that "music is a great catalyst for the therapy, especially with children because there's so many things that it can accomplish. Kids will open up in a different way when there's music involved." For instance, songwriting, Jones says, can get children to say and write things that they may not have discussed with a traditional therapist.