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Pros and Cons of Research Statistics for Music Therapy

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Research statistics for music therapy can be very difficult to interpret correctly. While there is information available about the statistics of music therapists, there are few quantitative analyses of music therapy practices. This is because music therapy is a subjective therapy. The quality of the methods used to treat illnesses and other medical conditions is not easily measured by numbers. And while researchers are able to say that certain music therapy methods definitely improve the brain functions of certain types of patients, it is almost impossible to determine statistics for music therapy of this type.

The statistics for music therapy that are available are simply not important to the average person who is looking for information on the benefits of music therapy. Statistics for music therapy generally deal with the music therapists themselves. For example, statistics show that approximately 9% of American Music Therapy Association music therapists are in private practice. While this information may be slightly helpful to someone who is actively seeking treatment, it is not helpful to those who are simply seeking information about music therapy. The same thing goes for statistics for music therapy like 65.8% of survey respondents have a bachelor's degree in music therapy, 29.2% have a master's degree, and 5.1% have a doctorate. Again, when a person is ready to choose a music therapist, this information will be important. But the average reader will find little encouragement in these numbers.

So how then does a person decide whether or not he or she wants to use music therapy to help with a medical problem? The best way to do this is not through statistics for music therapy, but rather through the research results themselves. Research results describe the subjective reactions music therapy patients have to different therapeutic methods. Instead of giving a number, such as 25% of this type of patient had this type of reaction to this type of treatment, research results will assess the benefits of any positive reaction from the patient.

Statistics for music therapy cannot provide important information to an interested party about how the therapy affected the music therapy patient's life. But a study of Alzheimer's patients who have been exposed to music activity therapies like dancing can tell that same interested party about the elevation in mood and resulting lessening of agitation in the patient. While this information is not quantitative, it is qualitative and thus provides a better understanding of music therapy as a medical treatment. The fact that music therapy can provide distraction from chronic pain resulting in decreased recognition of pain cannot be translated into statistics for music therapy, but it can give the prospective music therapy patient a good idea of what to expect from his or her therapy.




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