Thursday, March 13, 2014

Music Therapy in Mental Health

To the selfless and generous people that give us hope in humanity, particularly to Claire

“Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears - it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more - it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.”
― Oliver Sacks

Suffering from any kind of mental trauma or illness is an often distressing and daunting experience. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and OCD can sometimes be lifelong that they require time and patience to overcome, as sufferers will face many ups and downs, as the temptation to relapse into old habits can present themselves at any time. 

Conditions involving severe mental health issues and depression can be complex to treat and every patient will have different needs and goals to meet. A GP or doctor will often be the first point-of-call once the decision to address a specific type of mental illness has been made, but the options available to anyone wanting to recover from anxiety or depression are multifarious. Alongside conventional talking therapies and drug treatments, there are other ways and means of helping people overcome debilitating and chronic mental issues which can feel overwhelming. One of these is Music Therapy.

Music Therapy
It is not all about trips to see doctors and psychiatrists, hospitals and sharing your deepest thoughts and feelings during group sessions, while recovering these days. Creative therapies are proving themselves to be an equally effective form of treatment. The advice given in the DrugAbuse website is that the choice of treatment is important to the recovery process of an individual, whatever the type of mental illness they suffer from is. Choosing the right program should depend entirely on the person’s needs. Music therapy creates sensorimotor responses from the body. This means that both the patient’s sensory and motor capabilities are active at the same time, making it possible to tailor the treatment for each human being based on the depression and anxiety stages the patient is going trough.

Techniques such as this can also be useful for treating people who suffer from addictions, just as they can be used to treat people with other mental conditions. The most extreme end of the spectrum will see a client who will be anxious, easily upset and maybe prone to violent outbursts. Playing a series of compositions at a slow tempo with mellow characteristics, such as soft vibrations, will alter the state of the patient’s autonomic nervous system.

The ANS is a form of control system the body uses to heighten certain feelings (such as anger) as it affects a person’s heart rate, and controlling these nervous feelings; by creating a safe and secure environment the patient relaxes, like when breathing in a paper bag during a panic attack.

Using music therapy, it is possible to teach people to control anxiety. The treatment is broad and does not just involve listening exercises, but also practical sessions where the patient will be involved in playing instruments, combining music with writing and physical exercise.

“There is certainly a universal and unconscious propensity to impose a rhythm even when one hears a series of identical sounds at constant intervals... We tend to hear the sound of a digital clock, for example, as "tick-tock, tick-tock" - even though it is actually "tick tick, tick tick.” 

Consider the above quote too. There is something to be said for the calming, distracting, repetitive action of intoning the same note over and over again, continually repeating the same sounds and phrases, or for instance, if you were playing an instrument such as the guitar, learning to play a riff, or pick – starting off slowly and first, then learning to play it faster over time. The continued action of fingers on string, coupled with the brain’s keen-ness for repetition can be very calming and distracting.

Background Research
Over the past decade there has been several attempts to understand why music therapy provides such effective results. A 2003 report, looks into the effect that drumming groups can have on an addict’s recovery process. 

The report found that drumming, as an activity, was a successful form of therapy due to the repetition involved. Concluding, drumming puts the mind into a state of relaxation, enhancing synchronization between the brain and body, putting the patient into a meditative-like state, as they concentrate solely on the task. Focusing attention on sensorimotor treatment, it's also important to provide an overall balance, taking into consideration all aspects, mentally and physically, of the patients’ well-being, while providing this kind of treatment. Enhancing the understanding of the cognitive and emotional process, is key for the patient's mental healing. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013


Perhaps now,
more than ever,
we spend our days,
immersed in letters.

They shape real life,
the options that exists,
the reasons for things,
the facts and their causes.

We think of language,
as the ultimate tool,
to solve our lives,
to reach the truth.

Most of the moments we live,
we are listening to someone speak,
we listen to electronic devices,
we listen to our inner voice think.

Syntactical nature of reality,
the real secret of magic,
is that the world,
is made of words,
and if you know the words,
that the world is made of,
you can make of,
whatever you wish.

Friday, May 31, 2013

I think it is about time

It’s time to stop living in your head. It’s time to cut the bullshit and take off theblindfolds().

It’s time to ignore the two fingers pointed at your head — it’s time to tell the difference between what is truly lethal and what is only painful.

It’s time to stop living by the words of the dead, to stop counting the steps you walk each day.

It’s time to take a deep breath — not to calm you down — but because it feels damn fucking good to be alive.

It’s about time you let go of that grudge you’re holding against yourself, one finger at a time.
The last petal that blows in the wind should never be I love me not.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Missing Imogen poetry

Just write

Anything anything anything anything anything anything anything anything anything anything

anything anything anything anything anything anything anything anything anything anything
anything anything

It's not that I am boring

anything anything anything anything anything

Is not that I don't care

anything anything anything anything anything

Is not that I don't want to

anything anything anything

Maybe I don't need to

anything anything anything

I don't have much spare time


I've got all drinking fit in


and the washing working eating sleeping washing working eating sleeping washing working eating sleeping

days keep blurring into one another

so ultimately

I end up without


to say

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Late Life Sprout

When we become cynical life can seem so dreadful. So full of hate, of all we've done and done to us;

When we lose innocence, in the early part of life; perhaps much later made more clear;

When we forget with what or whom we are connected, all the Universe so, if abstracted;

When we forget that first song, that made us breathe - faster and more deeply;

Was it Hendrix? Was it Bowie? Or by chance some Bach played slowly.

When we began at first to love, but then to have its world on us cave in;

When we realized it was all a dream; some concoction, another hateful co-dependent scheme;

When we finally grew up, but then in a sights grow clear a specter of Death looming near;

When we gently as a feather put, our heads on pillow to admit,

There's something greater just out there;

All we have to do is share.

By Wu Sharman

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Fitter Happier More deductive

Extracts from insights on Radiohead

We are often stunned and we are often distracted, and we are bewildered almost all of the time. And the only weapon we have—as individuals and as a scatter of grouplets—is the delicate brain now so perilously balanced in the struggle for public sanity. . . . We feel that we are living in a world in which the citizen has become a mere spectator or a forced actor.

Our ever deepening dependence and engagement with the technologies of modern life, therefore, may lead to changes in our selves, to ourselves, that we might in fact reject or regret were we to understand them and see them for what they are. We might all collapse in shock or despair were we to face some truths about ourselves—truths that we never paid attention to, that no one ever talked about, even though they were obvious and in front of our faces all along. What would really hurt, of course, is realizing that that we’d done it to ourselves.

If you accepted the constant promiscuous broadcasts as normalcy, there were messages in them to inflate and pet and flatter you. If you realize this chatter was altering your life, killing your privacy or ending the ability to think in silence. It was up to you to change the channel, not answer the phone, stop your ears, shut your eyes, dig a hole for yourself and get in it. Really, it was your responsibility.

It doesn’t name a single enemy. It doesn’t propose revolution. It doesn’t call you to overthrow an order that you couldn’t take hold of anyway at any single point, not without scapegoating a portion and missing the whole. This defiance—it might be the one thing we can manage, and better than sinking beneath the waves. It requires the retention of a private voice.

Meanings are fluid and just as we think we’ve gotten something into focus, it seems to dissolve before our eyes. It often derives in a kind of anxiety not because meaning our own lives are continually challenged by an indifferent world. It is caused by never quite succeeding in bringing into focus what those meaning might be. Given every body as itself a part of the world, there cannot be firm boundaries to calm us. But if boundaries are uncertain and meanings fluid, there’s also the possibility of establishing new boundaries and constructing new meanings. Opening the possibility for reconstruction.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Narcissism II: Does it lead to the lack of new ideas?

Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, "Make me feel important."

Although narcissistic individuals are generally perceived as arrogant and overly dominant, by showing their self-confidence, authority and other characteristics they tend to be seen as effective leaders. So they tend to emerge as leaders (such as Hitler). It was found that although narcissistic leaders are perceived as effective they actually inhibit information exchange between group members and thereby negatively affects group performance.

Some have the false belief that big ideas have migrated to the marketplace. There is a vast difference between profit-making inventions and intellectually challenging thoughts. Marketplace ideas may change the way we live, but they rarely transform the way we think.

We live in the Age of Information. Courtesy of the Internet, we seem to have immediate access to anything that anyone could ever want to know. We are certainly the most informed generation in history. We prefer knowing to thinking because knowing has more immediate value. It keeps us in the loop, keeps us connected to our friends. Ideas are too airy, too impractical, too much work for too little reward

The post-idea world emerged along the social networking world. Even though there are sites and blogs dedicated to ideas the most popular sites on the Web, are basically information exchanges, designed to feed the insatiable information hunger, without the kind of information that tends to generates ideas.

We have become information narcissists, so uninterested in anything outside ourselves and our friendship circles or in any tidbit we cannot share with those friends that if a Marx or a Nietzsche were suddenly to appear, blasting his ideas, no one would pay the slightest attention, certainly not the general media, which have learned to service our narcissism.

Amira made me realize the need to expand previous post.