Music Therapy’s Impact on the Mental Health of Refugees Diagnosed with PTSD

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Music gives a soul to a universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything. This quote was written by Plato and it reminds myself why music is so important in the world, especially to those who suffer from various diagnoses. Music Therapy is a therapeutic method that incorporates music as a device to help improve both mental and behavioral problems that numerous people are suffering from.

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I have decided to focus on refugees who suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Many refugees have traumatic experiences associated with war, poverty, political unrest, etc. In this thesis, I will prove that music therapy has a positive impact on the mental health of refugees who are diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Before I discuss experiments that have been performed recently, there has already been previous evidence showing that music therapy was a legitimate trauma treatment. The nervous system plays a role in the idea of music therapy as neurological studies have provided evidence that music listening plays an integral role on numerous areas of the brain. Music therapists believe that with a use of music therapy on a regular basis, patients with diagnosed trauma disorders can eventually improve the ways they deal with their traumatic experiences. This includes the patient learning to contain their experiences and emotions, regulating the arousal they get when they think of their traumatic experiences, and being able to incorporate these traumatic experiences as a memory among many that are part of their individual story. There have been several experiments completed to prove that music therapy does generally improve the mental conditions of those refugees who suffer from PTSD. This is the case for both refugee adults and refugee children who have suffered through traumatic events.

The first study that I will discuss was carried for eighteen months between the years 2014 and 2015 in The Trauma Clinic for Refugees in the Region Zealand of Denmark. Eligible participants in this study were refugees who had been diagnosed with PTSD by a medical doctor or some other anxiety, somatoform, or personality disorder. Even those with severe cases of PTSD were permitted as long the participant did not require hospitalization. The method used in this study was the use of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). According to the Music and Imagery Association of Australia, Guided Imagery and Music is a psychodynamic therapy that integrates music listening in a relaxed state to stimulate memories, imagery, and feelings to help the client understand life issues from a holistic perspective. The participants of this study received one-hour sessions sixteen times throughout the study timeline. The primary treatment used for these participants was a modification of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music. During these sessions,

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