As with children and adolescents, many adults struggle with issues of mental health. These concerns vary widely and can include anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, postpartum depression and mood disorders, PTSD (and other trauma related disorders), substance abuse, and eating disorders among others.
Some music therapists are able to provide music psychotherapy which can help individuals who are looking for assistance with mental health. Music psychotherapy can also help when individuals are seeking help with problems with relationships. Essentially, any concern where you might consider going to a “talk therapist” can also be addressed by a qualified music psychotherapist. Music psychotherapists may use both music and verbal components in their sessions, depending on their way of working and the needs of the client.
In Ontario, it is important to keep in mind that, on January 1, 2019, the act of psychotherapy will become a controlled act. That means that only those individuals who are registered by an approved College may provide psychotherapy, and that includes music psychotherapists. You will find that most music psychotherapists are registered with the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and have the designation RP (or Registered Psychotherapist). In some cases, music psychotherapists may be registered with another approved College because they also have a different qualification. For example, if a music therapist is also a Registered Social Worker (RSW), they might be registered in the Social Work College instead.
There are two positives to this change to the law. First of all, this change is being made to protect the public from unethical treatment. As well, many insurance companies are already covering psychotherapy provided by a qualified psychotherapist (such as an RP), which makes psychotherapy of all kinds (including music psychotherapy) more affordable for many people.
Here is an example of a research project where music therapy was used to reduce anxiety for newly diagnosed cancer patients undergoing radiation:
And here is an example of music therapy used with depression: