Music Therapy As A Coping Mechanism For Children With Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are issues we all face at some time or another in a world that is often fast-paced, high-pressure, and unpredictable. Finding ways to deal with worries, changes, and difficulties is crucial, and when it comes to children, it is important that we help them discover ways that work for them.
Music therapy is a powerful tool that can help children navigate their anxiety, providing comfort, distraction, and a way to express and navigate their emotions without words. By utilising the healing nature of music, qualified therapists have developed a form of support that can help children cope with the normal stressors of day-to-day life, as well as mental health issues such as anxiety. This unique and versatile approach taps into our innate connection with rhythm, melody, and harmonies, which can influence our emotional state and overall well-being.
At Chatterbox, we believe multi-disciplinary methods can create a highly beneficial combination to support children during their development and growth. Find out how music therapy for anxiety can provide your child with a release and useful strategies that can take them through their childhood and beyond.
How Does Anxiety Affect Children?
Anxiety is a common emotional response characterised by feelings such as distress, fear, and apprehension. It is often a normal part of life and can serve as a protective mechanism. However, when anxiety becomes persistent, excessive, or interferes with daily functioning, it can have a significant impact on children.
When anxiety becomes troublesome, it can manifest in many ways, such as:
- Physical symptoms like sleep disturbances, stomach pains, and headaches.
- Withdrawal and avoidance behaviours.
- Lack of focus and concentration.
- Declining academic performance.
- Low self-esteem.
- Constant need for approval.
- Difficulties in making and maintaining friends and social relationships.
What is Music Therapy?
Music therapy or sound therapy is a specialised form of therapy that focuses on addressing emotional, cognitive, and social needs to improve physical and mental health and overall quality of life. It involves the use of music-based interventions, which can involve activities such as listening to music, playing instruments, singing, and writing songs. Engaging in musical activities can release endorphins, reduce stress hormones, and promote relaxation, which can alleviate anxiety symptoms.
This form of holistic therapy also provides a safe and creative outlet for children to express their emotions and thoughts. It allows them to communicate their experiences and concerns in a non-verbal or verbal manner, giving them a platform that can feel easier to approach than talking directly to someone about their anxiety. Music therapy also encourages social interaction, boosts self-esteem and confidence, and enhances communication skills.
Which Music Therapy Techniques Help Anxiety?
The beauty of music therapy is that there are a lot of options that can be tailored to suit each child’s needs, interests, and abilities. Some techniques that can be used to address anxiety include:
This can involve calming and soothing melodies, rhythms, and harmonies to induce relaxation responses. Slow-paced music with gentle tones, for example, can help slow down children’s breathing and heart rate, reducing feelings of tension and promoting a sense of calm.
This technique involves using music to guide individuals through visualisation. The therapist selects music that matches the desired mood or setting and encourages the child to imagine themselves in a peaceful, serene environment.
Music therapy techniques often incorporate exercises that encourage deep breathing. The therapist may use specific musical cues or rhythms to guide individuals in synchronising their breath with the music, promoting relaxation and mindfulness.
Engaging in musical improvisation can help individuals with anxiety express their emotions, analyse events or experiences, be creative, feel empowered, and release tension.
Progressive Muscle Relaxation
This is a technique that involves systematically tensing and relaxing different muscle groups by using appropriate musical cues and rhythms to enhance relaxation.
Exploring song lyrics can encourage reflection and connection with experiences and feelings, which can provide insights that can allow for the processing of emotions and validation.
Writing songs can be a powerful therapeutic tool. By expressing their thoughts and emotions through lyrics and melodies, children can gain a sense of control over their experiences, thoughts, and feelings.
Empower Children With Music Therapy for Anxiety
At Chatterbox, we understand the profound impact anxiety can have on children’s lives. Incorporating evidence-based music therapy techniques into your child’s care can make a significant difference in their well-being. Music therapy offers a diverse approach to addressing anxiety in children in a creative and supportive way, helping them to develop coping mechanisms and relaxation strategies and express emotions and thoughts. Additionally, considering the benefits of physiotherapy for children as part of a comprehensive care plan can contribute to their overall physical and mental development.
If your child is dealing with anxiety issues, contact our friendly team, including a Paediatric Occupational Therapist Sydney, to organise a consultation so that we can begin developing a personalised program for them.