Music Therapy

How it works

The client and therapist take active roles in using a range of instruments and their voices to explore sounds and create a unique language that reflects an emotional and/or physical condition. Rhythm, melody and tone together then facilitate positive changes in behaviour and wellbeing.

What it could help:

Anxiety, tension, anger, learning difficulties, high blood pressure.

Evidence base:

Music therapy is a growing field of healthcare, particularly among children and vulnerable groups going through serious illnesses. Research showed that music can have profound effects on the mind and body, and this has been adapted to help patients in hospitals. One study found that the use of music therapy is useful postoperatively in patients and can help them relax more and deal with symptoms of pain and anxiety.

What to expect:

Music therapy sessions are largely found in hospitals, specialist schools, care homes and prisons. Sessions can be organized individually or in groups by the patients themselves, and continue for an agreed time, normally around one to two hours. There is usually an assessment beforehand too, comprising of two to four sessions of 30 minutes. It is generally non-verbal expression, usually accompanied by instrumental music to trigger creativity. Key to the sessions is a therapeutic relationship between the client and the licensed therapist.


These sessions usually take place inside safe environments and include vulnerable people so ensuring the music therapist is registered and trained is vital. The title of music therapist can only be used by those registered with the Health Professions Council (HPC).

Find out more:

Find a therapist:



Some UK cancer centres and hospitals offer music therapy treatments free of charge. Each private centre offering music therapy has its own prices and options but generally, three initial assessment sessions cost around £120; subsequent individual music therapy sessions cost £40; whilst subsequent group sessions can cost up to £80 depending on the client’s needs.

How does music therapy work? – VIDEO

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