Lyric Analysis in Music Therapy

Music Therapy to Treat Mental Illness


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Application of Music Therapy

According to McCaffrey et al., Music therapy has offered a suitable platform for recovery from mental illnesses. Music therapy fosters a feeling of optimism, creating good relationships, and building trust with others. The use of music therapy has been proposed and encouraged by international organizations which call upon therapist to combine the traditional therapeutic methods with Music to promote mental illness recovery. McCaffrey et al. suggest various ways to maximize support in the use of music therapy. He notes that service users are incorporated in finding out the best experiences and the most effective ways that Music is used in recovery. Focusing on the individual needs and preferences of the mental health consumer is a critical factor, which proposed effective recovery rather than a generalized approach. The five crucial processes of recovery centered on the user experience integrated with individual needs include; connectedness, social support; optimism towards recovery; overcoming stigma through rebranding personal identity, finding meaning in life, and empowerment.

Benefits of Music Therapy in Mental Illnesses

Music generally influences how we feel. Besides, research has shown that music therapy is beneficial and recommended procedure to treat those who have psychological issues. The effectiveness of music therapy intervention in psychological problems has been documented in Scientific Literature (Torres ML et al., 2016). Calm Music has a calming effect, and research has also shown that Music’s tempo and volume influence blood pressure and heart rate. In the treatment of Schizophrenia, antipsychotic drugs have been seen to be effective in treating positive symptoms but not in the treatment of negative symptoms that touch on the patient’s emotions. Music has been used as a communication bridge and a social communication tool to appeal to the inner being of the patients. Music allows patients to get in touch with their inner selves. Music therapy in the treatment of Schizophrenia causes beneficial outcomes for the patients than those who do not use Music Therapy. The treatment effect for patients who integrated both Music and other methods showed sustainability a year after receiving treatment. The relapse rate of Schizophrenic was much lower for patients who used music therapy than in the control group. These show that Rehabilitation of Schizophrenic patients is more effective when Music is incorporated in the treatment.

Music Therapy in Stress Management and Depression

Stress has been associated with various health conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, depression, and addictions. The use of tranquillizers to reduce stress has adverse effects that the majority of people engage in. Music can be an effective strategy to reduce anxiety without resulting in there harmful ways that do not offer the resulting benefit of Music. Stress can be positive or negative. It also subtle and bearable to a certain extent Inability to regulate and cope with stress has an overall negative effect on an individual’s health. The buildup in pressure is what we have seen to cause physical health outcomes. Music reduces physiological arousal by lowering cortisol stress levels regulating hormones, as we have seen above (Aalbers et al., 2017). Music enables the release of endorphins in the Amygdala, the part of the brain involved in regulating emotions to create a sense of safety and wellbeing  (De Witte et al., 2019). Music also increases dopamine release in the brain, which promotes a feeling of happiness in a person. Music therapy brings destructions that limit stress-inducing thoughts in the brain. Endorphin and oxytocin are bonding hormones produced during group singing, playing an instrument, and other forms of musical creation. Music gives a short time relief from depressive moods and thoughts and helps when integrated with other depression treatment interventions.

Music as Medicine

The power of music is limitless. Research has shown that Music does not only positively affect adults but even infants. Music, especially in infants, has the effect of creating a serene atmosphere and even causing sleep. Research has shown the impact of Music in boosting the body’s immune system by producing immunoglobulin, which kills viruses and other bacteria in the body that causes diseases. Listening to music has also been seen to reduce the stress hormone cortisol levels, which causes stress reduction. (Novotney, 2013). Music can also be employed in operating rooms in the hospital to ease distress and anxiety for adults and children. Music therapy involves singing, listening to music, playing instruments, and writing songs, both in individual and group settings. Vibroacoustic treatment has resulted in improvement of movement for patients with Parkinson’s disease. Besides using music therapy, more research is being carried out to determine if sound vibration can effectively help manage Parkinson’s disease and Depression. Disorientation in the brain that leads to some of these psychological disorders, such as fibromyalgia, can be stabilized by sound vibration, an ongoing research project to determine how these good vibrations can stabilize the thalamus and the outer cortex part of the brain.

Various cases have already been documented as effective in using sound vibration to reduce various psychological disorders. Continuous use of 40 hertz sounds on a patient for four weeks within 30 minutes daily helped the patient recall the grandchildren’s names.



Music Therapy in Military

The use of music therapy is not limited to where it is practised. Research has shown that military personnel can also benefit from the use of Music to treat mental illnesses. Since World Wars I and II, Music has been used to entertain, motivate and encourage service personnel (Gooding & Langston, 2019). The practice continued where musicians played music for the service personnel who had suffered during World War II. In 1945  music therapy was officially made part of the reconditioning program in the military in various parts of the world. Research has also shown that music has been received well in the service and its impact on mental illness recovery is noticeable.

The focus was on studying service personnel with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and those with brain injury. Music was to help enhance communication, especially among service members who have PTSD, to help in emotional regulation and expression. Music therapy has been limited to the treatment of only PTSD and other mental illnesses such as TBI. Gooding & Langston notes that there is a need for further research to show how Music intervention is applied to treat specific mental conditions. Noteworthy is that Effective Music Therapy in the military is encouraged. The Music Therapists should focus on the particular preferences of the individual serviceman or woman and not a generalist view.


Music Therapy in Adolescents

Adolescents with emotional and Behavioral Disorders have increased in recent times. Those exhibiting such behaviours do not perform well academically, and they are also not attuned to the social environment. (Roley,  2017). Music therapy is one of the best and popular intervention methods that would help them in cognition and psychological development. Music is used both by individuals and in a group setting. Music is used to enhance communication between the therapist and the adolescents to express issues that are not communicated well through words or writing. Playing instruments in the peer group to improve interpersonal skills and promote impulse control is one activity in music therapy. Social functioning is also enhanced through music therapy for adolescents with emotional and behavioural disorders. The outcome of music therapy for an adolescent with EBD is improved classroom behaviour and engagement in class. Improved relationship with the therapist, teachers, parents, and the other students was also a notable effect. The risk-taking behaviour among this group also reduces, and the overall development of the adolescent was affected positively. More research has been proposed, particularly for music therapy for exhibiting adolescent EBD, to reduce the statistics of juvenile cases, violence, and other risk-taking behaviour.

Lyric Analysis in Music Therapy

Lyric Analysis brings the various aspects we have covered in this paper together. The selection of song or Lyric Analysis is one of the main tasks a music therapist puts into careful consideration. The music selected depends on the themes and the song’s tempo. The individual preference of the client is also put into consideration. The song’s language for lyric analysis is informal, with a focus on the present. Such Music with here and now messages appeal more to mental health patients and connects more with the concept in such songs. (Uknowledge & Miller, 2017). Selecting the emotional tone of songs can be positive, negative, or in between, depending on the client and the therapist’s level of treatment and relationship. Mental health consumers who have experienced traumatic experiences may prefer songs with negative lyrics, which identify their current feelings. However, the therapist would say the way best theme to use is based on the individual consumer. Music with a positive tone may be more suited to help dispel the negative feeling. Still, both negative and positive songs can be used interchangeably based on the therapist’s view of the needs of mental health consumers. The songs that appeal best to most mental health populations are songs written with the ‘me’ or ‘I’ perception. Therefore songs written in the first person are more preferred for lyric analysis. The songs also carry the concept of social, cognitive, and psychological wellbeing.

More goes into lyric analysis that impacts how effective music therapy is for recovering and treating mental illnesses. We have explored the various mental conditions that are managed with music therapy, and we have seen that music therapy is not limited to age groups or the people it can help. Music therapy is used in all areas such as the military, education, and various organizations as intervention strategies for people with mental health conditions. What stands out in the multiple sources we have consulted the need for continued research to make more discoveries, specifying what element of music appeals to specific mental illness. We have also seen that music therapy is a collaboration of the mental health consumer and the therapist in the selection of the right Music, sound, playing an instrument, and everything else that entails music therapy. Of importance and something that every Music therapist or someone who would like to study and practice music therapy in life is that; Music can influence the body in a positive or negative outcome. That Music has been proven to help recovery among people with mental health illnesses. Music needs to be incorporated with other treatment methods for it to be effective. As we have seen, it dramatically adds more excellent value to other treatment methods than if it is not used.


















McCaffrey, T., Carr, C., Solli, H. P., & Hense, C. (2018). Music Therapy and Recovery in Mental Health: Seeking a Way Forward. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 18(1).

Gooding, L. F., & Langston, D. G. (2019). Music Therapy With Military Populations: A Scoping Review. Journal of Music Therapy, 56(4), 315–347.

Torres ML, M., Ramos V, J., Suarez PC, M., Garcia S, A., & Mendoza M, T. (2016). Benefits of Using Music Therapy in Mental Disorders. Journal of Biomusical Engineering, 04(02).

Novotney, A. (2013, November). Music as medicine. Https://

Roley, A. (2017). Music Therapy in the Treatment of Adolescents with Emotional and Behavioral Disorder: A Systematic Review.

De Witte, M., Spruit, A., van Hooren, S., Moonen, X., & Stams, G.-J. (2019). Effects of music interventions on stress-related outcomes: a systematic review and two meta-analyses. Health Psychology Review, 14(2), 1–31.

Aalbers, S., Fusar-Poli, L., Freeman, R. E., Spreen, M., Ket, J. C., Vink, A. C., Maratos, A., Crawford, M., Chen, X.-J., & Gold, C. (2017). Music therapy for Depression. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Uknowledge, U., & Miller, A. (2017). Analyzing Songs Used for Lyric Analysis With Mental Health Analyzing Songs Used for Lyric Analysis With Mental Health Consumers Using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) Consumers Using Linguistic Inquiry and Word Count (LIWC) Software Software.

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