Art, Music, DancePsychosis

Music therapy for serious mental disorders

Researchers from Unifob Health in Bergen, Norway reviewed the literature to “examine the benefits of music therapy for people with serious mental disorders.”

First, the details.

  • All existing prospective studies were combined for a meta-analysis.
  • The influence of study design, type of disorder (psychotic vs. non-psychotic), and number of sessions of music therapy were evaluated.

And, the results.

  • Music therapy, when added to standard care, has strong and significant effects in the following areas.
    • Global state
    • General symptoms
    • Negative symptoms
    • Depression
    • Anxiety
    • Functioning
    • Musical engagement
  • Significant dose-effect relationships were identified for general, negative, and depressive symptoms, as well as functioning.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “The findings suggest that music therapy is an effective treatment, which helps people with psychotic and non-psychotic severe mental disorders to improve global state, symptoms, and functioning.”

“Slight improvements can be seen with a few therapy sessions, but longer courses or more frequent sessions are needed to achieve more substantial benefits.”

3/10/09 21:50 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.