Music therapy helps teenage mental health. From stress relief and self-soothing to emotion regulation and physiological benefits, music plays a powerful role in mental health and well-being for many people.
For teens, music often takes on an even greater significance—it can contribute to the process of identity formation. Music therapy is an artistic and effective way we connect with young people.
Teens who have experienced trauma or toxic stress often struggle to connect through traditional talk therapy. Music offers them a different way to express themselves, talk about difficult experiences, and work through emotions.
Music can also provide soothing sounds or beats that help youth regulate their emotions and learn more about their triggers. Music therapy, like art therapy and animal-assisted therapy, are outlets that can help provide your struggling teen ways to express their feelings.
Music Therapy increases communication, socialization and memory in children. Because music therapy bridges the gap between art and science, and the artistic nature of the therapy allows teenagers to open up and explore their feelings. It also helps them cope with their mental health issues.
Most adolescents consider music to be an important part of their life. The lyrics resonate with them and help validate their feelings. Music Therapists use the importance of lyrics to help teens relate and communicate. Sometimes, a teen will write lyrics outlining fears, goals and dreams, then uses the music to process and validate current feelings. Through song writing, teens are able to begin to manage their fear and anxieties.
Benefits of Music Therapy for Teens
Music therapy provides teens with a positive, creative and fun outlet. They can build a strong identity of themselves focused on who they can become versus their past choices. Teens involved in music therapy will also be discovering new interests and perhaps even a greater talent that needs to be nurtured.
Music therapy can become a coping strategy for teens who need to find a way to navigate the triggers that led them to use alcohol or drugs and other risky behavior. Research shares that music therapy has had the power to help teens overcome chronic depression — since 2019 the rate of teens suffering with depression and anxiety has doubled.
Music therapy can help teens:
- Reduce stress
- Lessen feelings of loneliness
- Decrease boredom and enhance mood
- Manage and understand emotions
- Develop healthy coping skills
Music therapy is a great component of residential treatment because it can help teens relax and learn to work with their peers in a constructive setting.
It’s important to find treatment with enrichment programs that stimulate your teen in a positive direction (such as music, art or animal therapy) — that can help them get through these difficult times especially when they have shut-down traditional talk therapy at home.
Sources: Children's Music Fund, Music Therapy