Art, Music, and Dance in Therapeutic Treatment


Therapeutic treatment as a form of an alternative approach in addressing the need for disability problems has revolutionized the healthcare industry. The essay through literature review and case study analyzes a therapeutic problem by using adolescence as a study tool. Furthermore, the essay gives the methodologies and findings of the study. Moreover, music, art and dance as emerged as important options for the treatment of disability problems. Consequently, the latter methodology has shown a significant role in stress reduction, efficient blood circulation and improved alertness among disabled people. The essay points out more benefits of these methodologies in handling disability. Finally, the essay concludes by explaining how these methodologies played a vital role in enhancing the well-being of disabled people.

Problem identification

The adolescent period is a very important stage among the youth. This period encompassed physical and mental growth at a rapid and accelerated rate. A study on the therapeutic approach to adolescence has exposed a challenge in relation to psychological health among adolescence. Ausubel (2002:32-38) points out that therapeutic study has never been adequately covered by scholars, educators, politicians and health workers. The study indicates that a high number of girls indicated a higher degree of interpersonal sensitivity than boys in areas such as; depression, anxiety among other therapeutic conditions. Stein (2006:57) illustrate that culture has been a factor that has contributed to a higher increase of psychological symptoms among adolescent i.e.; the pressure to succeed in education, great expectations from parents and peer pressure conflicts (Ausubel 2002:87). The study was interested in assessing how music, an alternative component in group physiotherapy can influence healthy adolescent girls.

Methodology approach

Stein (2006:36) researched to find more insight into the effectiveness of music therapy; Stein sampled out 35 adolescent girls and involved them in a school music therapy group. The music season was done in six sessions. It was a direct project which was intended to find out the role of, music, dance, and art as a form of therapeutic approach.

Other than finding the role played by music in healing, Stein (2006: 67) was analyzing how music can help improve self –organizational skills and endorses relationships with patients with disability. The adolescence period is characterized by the major role of finding one’s identity and developing it positively in line with one’s culture. However, there is a difference in maturity and autonomy towards different adolescence emanating from diverse cultures and backgrounds. Dealing with adolescents can be demanding, difficult and challenging.


The research found several tangible benefits that emerge from the use of group music therapy. Additionally, the study found out how the adolescents are modelled by factors that can inhibit their potential hence creating a challenging factor in adolescence social, physical and emotional development (Stein 2006: 69). Moreover, the study found out that group music therapy helps to improve alertness improves concentration and alleviate pain in patients with disability due to its importance to alter the attention of the mind.

Literature review

Riley (1999:76) illustrates that peer relationship is a common trend among the adolescent group and is linked to their behavior. This is because the boy or a girl tries to find his or her identity in a social setting and the social support needed here is mainly in the context of developing social competency, intimacy and personal wellbeing. Stein (2006:67) Points out that girls are associated with depression and ideas of suicide because it is linked to interpersonal relatedness.

The female gender is prone to interpersonal stress and symptoms of depression during the adolescence period because of the affiliation and social personality or due to sensitivity of some of the life stressful patterns (Ausubel, 2002:89). Girls are susceptible to pressure and intimacy that is peer associated than their counterparts. Furthermore, they are more susceptible to actions that are prone to stress, unlike the boys. Girls’ identity during adolescence is linked to an interpersonal relationship in comparison to boys (Parrott 2000:58).

Music has been one of the important therapeutic and efficient methodologies in the management and treatment of adults. Therapeutic music can be administered in a variety of ways, but the most preferred is “group psychotherapy” (Kroger 2004:68). Music can effectively be used in patients who have a chronic mental disorder, in this scenario, music therapy provides a relaxing mood and encourages group cohesion and bonding. In some situations, such as stress, music therapy has contributed significantly to lowering stress and improving moods in adults.

The benefit of music in the cure of patients with disability

In a normal life setting, music therapy uses the technology of music to impart a positive change in an individual. This change can be transformed to enhance social, emotional, physical, cognitive abilities and enhance individuals’ spirituality (Carroll 2008:96).

The universality and connectivity of music across language barriers make it an effective treatment tool in the therapeutic approach. Music tends to stimulate a person mind in different ways whether if they are disabled or not. People are influenced by music that they respond to its rhythm regardless of their physical health. The natural ability of music to trigger emotions to the listener helps in stimulation and creation of relaxation responses which in turn leads to alteration of the psychological mood of the body (Hogan 1997:76). Hence, music reduces high blood pressure, tension, improves blood circulation, respiration, better heartbeat and improves cardiac performance. Music is processed in the hemisphere of the brain and its stimulation aids in language and speech development and functions. Individuals suffering from autism disorders have shown a positive result and most of them show some aspect of musical skills.

Clair (1996:48) explains that music therapy promotes both verbal and non-verbal forms of communication and therefore encourages social interaction. It is an important outlet that assists patients to express themselves when they do not need necessary to talk. Consequently, it has been used successfully used to manage pains by distracting the patience against painful spur (Clair 1996:69).

Disorders such as child learning and development disorders, dementia sufferers and the elderly have benefitted from the power of music therapy (Waller 1993:99). The music advantage has been intuitively acknowledged and that research shows that its application has highly increased quantitative results.

The benefit of dance in the cure of patients with disability

Dance therapy plays an important role in the field of the therapeutic approach of treatment. Dance therapy is a healing system where there is a movement of part of the body at a psychotherapeutic level. This is aimed at treating emotional, social, cognitive or physical problems (Meekums 2002:134). Dance therapy aims at connecting the mind and body with other parts of the body to enhance the well being of a person an ultimate goal.

Dance therapy has been successful in addressing and treatment of disorders of which some have been very complicated (Goodill 2005:35). Dance therapy has been effective in dealing with people who have hearing and visual impairment, blindness, mental retardation among other therapeutic conditions.

Chodorow (1991:57) notes that dance helps in slowing down progression that is associated with cognitive symptoms and it is “neuroprotective” by influencing the increase of insulin concentration and slowing down or completely reducing serum homocysteine. Dance therapy, therefore, presents an overall benefit and plays an important role in dealing with all aspects of disability (Chodorow 1991:112).

Benefits accrued from art therapy

The art concept therapy has shown much success in ways that diverge from a traditional form of therapy practice. Malchiodi (2003:46) suggests that Art has positioned itself as a form of therapy by creatively utilizing the process. Art therapy is more beneficial to younger people because they find it more comfortable and relaxing to express themselves unlike older people (Liebmann 2004:60).

By art therapy, an art therapist can assist a disabled person see things about him or herself which might have been hard to understand art therapy provides a medium where emotions, feelings that a patient struggles with are shown and then the journey of healing begins with the help of an art therapist (Nagarsheth 2009:98).

For patients who have been disabled for instance cancer patients, art therapy assists in calming down anxiety and reducing the pain. Additionally, apart from applying it in a disabled environment, art therapy has helped t sharpen the communication and social skills of people who otherwise would be shy, or otherwise those people who have a problem within a social setting (Hogan 1997:118).


The incorporation of new methodologies in the treatment of patients with disability cases rather than the traditional medication has enhanced improvement in managing disability related cases. The use of music, art and dance as a method to bring about relaxation and entertainment at the same time as treatment has helped contain pain, lower down the stress level in the body and help patients concentrate on what they are doing. However, more strategies should be devised and applied in a situation like where treatment fails to respond after the application of all these alternative therapeutic methods.

Reference List

Ausubel, D.P. 2002, Theory and Problems of Adolescent Development, 3 Ed, iUniverse, Indiana.

Chodorow, J. 1991, Dance Therapy and Depth Psychology: The Moving Imagination, Routledge, New York.

Clair, A. A. 1996, Therapeutic Uses of Music with Older Adults, Health Professions Press, Washington.

Carroll, J. M. 2008, Art Therapy and Individuals with a Developmental Disability. Jessica Kingsley Limited, Pennsylvania.

Goodill, S. 2005, An Introduction to Medical Dance/Movement Therapy: Health Care in Motion, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Pennsylvania.

Hogan, S. 1997, Feminist Approaches to Art Therapy, Routledge, New York.

Kroger, J. 2004, Identity in Adolescence: The Balance Between Self and Other, Routledge, New York.

Liebmann, M. 2004, Art Therapy for Groups: a Handbook of Themes and Exercises, Psychology Press, California.

Malchiodi, C. A. 2003, Handbook of Art Therapy, Guilford Press, New York.

Meekums, B. 2002, Dance Movement Therapy: a Creative Psychotherapeutic Approach, sage, California.

Nagarsheth N. P. 2009, Music and Cancer: A Prescription for Healing, Jones & Bartlett Learning, Massachusetts.

Riley, S. 1999, ‘Contemporary Art Therapy with Adolescents, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, Pennsylvania.

Stein, D. 2006, Essential Psychic Healing: A Complete Guide to Healing Yourself, Healing Others, and Healing the Earth, The Crossing Press, Idaho.

Parrott, L. 2000, Helping the Struggling Adolescent: A Guide to Thirty-Six Common Problems for Counselors, Pastors, and Youth workers, Zondervan, Michigan.

Waller, D. 1993, Group Interactive Art Therapy: It’s Use in Training and Treatment. Routledge, New York.

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