Brain Injury Sufferers Find Benefits in Music Therapy Program

JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska, Nov. 16, 2017 — Past and present service members and family members suffering from traumatic brain injury can now take part in a Creative Forces music therapy program here, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the Defense Department that’s designed to help them recover and rehabilitate.

Army Staff Sgt. Sean Young, 2nd Battalion, 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment training room noncommissioned officer, strums the guitar during music therapy with Danielle Kalseth, 673d Medical Operations Squadron creative arts and music therapist, at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, Nov. 2, 2017. Music therapy sessions help rehabilitate patients with traumatic brain injury. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Caitlin Russell
According to the American Music Therapy Association website, music therapy is the clinical use of music to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Creative Forces music therapy began in April as a resource to support and provide training to community art providers and invest in research on the impacts of art-based interventions such as the music therapy program hosted here.

For people with TBI, music therapy can be instrumental to rehabilitation. Music therapists use evidence-based techniques to stimulate speech, movement and cognitive emotions in patients.

“I joined the music therapy group after finding out about it from the TBI clinic,” said Army Staff Sgt. Sean Young, Delta Battery, 2nd Battalion 377th Parachute Field Artillery Regiment training room noncommissioned officer. “With TBI, I started losing memory and overall comprehension, but with music therapy I’m able to play the guitar and remember riffs without thinking about it.”

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials say about 1.5 million people in the United States suffer from a TBI each year and that 85,000 people suffer long-term disabilities. Read about it here.

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