Music is powerful.

It possesses the unique ability to awaken memories, to impact physiological functioning, and to evoke emotional responses.

Music Therapy Services of Simcoe County works with clients of all ages and with a variety of developmental, neurologic, emotional needs and diagnoses. In addition to the individual and group services offered at our clinic in Barrie, Ontario, we also work with many long-term care facilities, group homes, and health care agencies and organizations across Simcoe County.

So What Is Music Therapy?

Ah…the million-dollar question that every music therapist secretly dreads. Music therapy can be used with many different clients and in many different ways. As a result, it can be difficult to explain.

Listening to your iPod, singing your heart out in the shower, or attending a concert are great music experiences. As such, they can have ‘therapeutic’ benefit but that doesn’t make them a therapy. Music therapy is a clinical process, that is to say it involves an assessment, goals and treatment plan. Sometimes goals focus on a client’s development or rehabilitation. For example, working on learning or regaining skills. In contrast, other goals focus on mental health and wellbeing. For instance, emotional learning or easing symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Here is the official definition from the Canadian Association of Music Therapists:

Music therapy is a discipline in which Certified Music Therapists (MTAs) use music purposefully within therapeutic relationships to support development, health, and well-being. Music therapists use music safely and ethically to address human needs within cognitive, communicative, emotional, musical, physical, social, and spiritual domains. CAMT, 2000

Who Is A Music Therapist?

Music therapists are both accomplished musicians and clinicians. They have an undergraduate or masters degree in music therapy. After which, they are required to complete a 1000 hour clinical internship. Once complete, music therapists pass a board exam to become certified (MTA). Additionally, some MTAs choose specialty training in Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT). Those working in Ontario have the option of becoming Registered Psychotherapists (RP) with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.

How Is Music Therapy Beneficial?

Music therapy is versatile and as a result, its benefits can be limitless. Mental health services allow clients to explore and express their emotions through non-verbal means. Developmental or rehabilitative services support the learning or reacquiring skills related to cognition, physical abilities, and/or communication. Recreational services provide clients with disabilities the opportunity to have fun with music.

There comes that mysterious meeting in life when someone acknowledges who we are and what we can be, igniting the circuits of our highest potential.

~ Rusty Berkus