Sure enough, music therapy comes with a lot of benefits of benefits. Through music, you can achieve a level of relaxation and peace previously impossible with all the thinking and over thinking that you had felt you needed to do. Also, through music, you could feel yourself finally learning to feel all those feelings that you had kept bottled up inside. (Those lyrics of Celine Dion’s It’s All Coming Back to Me Now just seemed to do their job quite well.)
Still, if you look beyond your favorite music therapy tech blog, you will find that music therapy also comes with its own set of dangers and disadvantages. Thus, the key is to not be among the mindless and unthinking website visitors; you need to think and reflect for yourself: is music therapy the therapy that you need?
Some Downsides to Music Therapy
One downside to using music for therapeutic purposes is the possibility of hearing loss. With the use of earphones and headphones, there is the tendency to use music to ‘drown out’ everything else in the outside world, convincing yourself that everything’s good in your cooped up existence. The problem with this, however, is that you might not get to regulate the volume of what you’re listening to, making your problems bigger than before.
Another downside to music as therapy is that music triggers memories, and these memories might not be as good or as pleasant as you would like them to be. Music is second only to smell for it’s ability to trigger memories. This is due in part to a long evolutionary tradition that connects a need to process sound quickly in order to survive. Clinically, there are certain situations where this can be incredibly powerful, as in cases where dementia is involved and a well-known song creates a moment of lucidity. But it can also be unwelcome and unwanted.
A third downside to using music for therapy is its capacity or tendency to spike up anxiety levels. Music is not a one-size-fits-all experience. Not everyone likes music. And very few people like every type of music. Hearing that song, artist, or genre—even in an open public space—can induce negative responses physiologically and/or emotionally. These negative responses may then be interpreted as anxiety.