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Article Sharing: Music Therapy, Sensory Integration, and Pain

by Kimberly on May 23, 2011 · 10 comments

The title is kind of funny, isn’t it? I mean, what do “sensory integration” and “pain” have in common?

For starters, articles I wrote on those topics were published last week 🙂

I have the good fortune of periodically being invited to write for other blogs. One of those blogs is Pediastaff, a provider of pediatric therapy services.

Last week, Pediastaff published a review I wrote on Songames, a CD and booklet that outlines structured, music-based experience for children with sensory integration issues. Want to know what I, as a music therapist, thought? Check it out here: Product Review: Songames (TM) for Sensory Integration

I am also a blogger on Psychology Today, where last year I started the blog “Your Musical Self.” My most recent post is on musical analgesia…or how music can help your pain. Whether chronic or acute, research is showing that music can be an effective pain management tool: Musical Analgesia: How Music Helps Pain

Finally, I’m always on the lookout for great articles related to music therapy–clinical music therapy, music therapy research, music neuroscience, etc. If you’ve read anything interesting (or have written anything interesting yourself!) and would like to share it, please leave a comment in the boxes below!


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Anonymous May 30, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I am interested in becoming a musical therapist, I have been studying the effects music can have. It is eye opening of what I have found. I have been studying a lot of what Dr. Michael Ballam PhD has to say about the subject of the effects of music. I often wonder how many music therapists know what I know that could help them to help others. I am not saying i know more then music therapist. I don’t, what I mean is that I wonder if what I have found is being taught to people studying music therapy, for this reason I am writing to share what i have. However, what I wish to share is way to lengthy for the comment box, and even several of them. For this reason I started a blog,
I want to help people, I like helping people, this is why I want to share what info I have. Please read what I have to say.

Kimberly May 31, 2011 at 9:30 am

Thank you for sharing your blog! If you’re interesting in information about how to become a music therapist, please check out this article I wrote on the topic:

Best of luck! ~Kimberly

BrĂ­d June 27, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Hi Kimberly, I’m perusing your site with particular interest at the moment. I’m actually a ‘nearly’ graduated occupational therapy student (just three weeks from the finish line!) and I’m also a keen musician – I have a MA in performance and a lifetime of playing, composing, performing and teaching. I’d be interested in your thoughts on other disciplines using music as part of their therapy – is this something you support (given the therapeutic value of music) or do you feel other disciplines would muck it up without specialised training? I’m currently running a music group with clients with enduring mental illness – I’m running it with a social/skills building/therapeutic slant, letting the participants experience a number of different aspects of music (thus far active listening, relaxation, singing, waltzing, hand jiving, exercising and talking about music). I suppose my goal is for the participants to experience music, to realise that music is for everyone, to develop skills like attention, memory and coordination and perhaps to encourage them to consciously include music in their everyday lives. I’m almost a qualified occupational therapist and believe that the sessions are benefiting clients – the hand jiving session was wonderful fun – totally infectious!! So I wonder how you (and others) as music therapists feel about OTs or SLTs or psychologists or nurses or doctors running music groups or using music as therapy?

Kimberly June 28, 2011 at 1:54 pm

Hello Brid,

Thank you for your comments…and what a great question! Music therapists in no way “own” music and I think that it’s wonderful you use music as part of your therapeutic “toolkit.”

The difference is that music therapists are trained to use music in as many ways as you can use music (improvisation, songwriting, performance, listening, etc.) to address a vast array of therapeutic goals (communication, social, emotional, motor, sensory, cognitive, etc.) for a wide variety of clinical populations. We are trained to meet and follow the skills outlined in our Scope of Practice (as created by the Certification Board for Music Therapists,

I’ve found that healthcare professions who use music in their work typically use is as a “tool” in their sessions. Music therapists, on the other hand, have a keen understanding of how our brains and bodies process music and rhythm and use this knowledge to inform our practice.

To flip the argument around a bit, I have facilitated many “music and exercise” groups in the past. The exercises I used are just like exercises PTs and OTs would use. But I would never call myself a PT or an OT, nor am I “doing PT” or “doing OT,” because I do not have their training.

Your music group sounds wonderful and I hope it’s a huge success! Best of luck ~Kimberly

myra September 8, 2011 at 11:15 pm

Have you by chance come across the listening therapy programs which are supposed to retrain the auditory system and resolve sensory issues? There are many of them: VitaLinks, Lollipop Listening Program, and Integrated Listening Systems. Each of these programs use classical music (and I think some church tones) and extremely high and low pitches to train the ear in expanding its hearing. I’m going to review these programs on my website if you’re interested in taking a look.

Kimberly September 12, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Thank you for sharing this. I have heard of some of these programs and will be interested in what the research says once they have been studied more. Please come back and share your review when you have it! ~Kimberly

philipa March 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm

I got here searching for how musical therapy and auditory integration relalates or differs. I wouldnt want to just jump innto something that might destroy all i v built for 6 yrs of interventions which though is not magical but its worth rejoicing over. Can you help educate me more send ore infos to my box.

philipa March 4, 2012 at 3:29 pm

send me infos on the differences btw AIT and musical therapy.

Kimberly March 7, 2012 at 12:43 pm

Hello Philipa–I don’t know if I can answer your question! What is AIT? Even if I know the definition, I still may not not know enough about AIT to give a clear description of the distinction between the two 🙂 ~Kimberly February 4, 2014 at 6:58 am

Keeping your home quiet (as much as possible), eliminating environmental stressors (i.
“Step eleven–sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out. 2nd Dynamic FAMILY and children and all other creativity.´s last blog post ..

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