The Psycho-Therapeutic Power of Music


The biblical book of 1 Samuel 16:14-16 contains an interesting narration that vividly exemplifies the psycho-therapeutic power of music. From that account, it is very evident that King Saul was already paranoid with the presence of the evil spirit that was tormenting his soul. He was in dire need of help and his officials knew that the power of music could solve his problem.

The experience of King Saul lends credence to the fact that music plays a significant role in psycho-therapy; it has a way of affecting mood, cognition and behaviour. It can act as a healing tool when properly applied. This is the reason most religions, especially Christianity, is music-inclined. It is believed that affirmative and inspirational songs have the power to bring human dreams and aspirations to fruition.

Against all the odds and vicissitudes of an uncertain life, these religious devotees are often reassured of hope and victory through the songs they sing. As far as they are concerned, God, who typifies their greatest hope, will not allow them to be crushed by the problems of life and so, their faith and confidence is beyond destruction.

According to the Wikipedia, “Music therapy is an evidence-based clinical use of musical interventions to improve clients› quality of life. Music therapists use music and its many facets— physical, cognitive, emotional/psychological, social, aesthetic, and spiritual— to help clients improve their health in cognitive, motor, emotional, communicative, social, sensory, and educational domains by using both active and receptive music experiences. These experiences include improvisation, re-creation, composition, receptive methods, and discussion of music.”

Psychotropic Music and Mental Health
Mr Patrick Iwelummor

Music transcends time and is present in all communities throughout the world. Given the universal nature of music, music therapy is uniquely able to reach individuals across all backgrounds and ages. It does not require any previous knowledge for individuals to meet their goals and be impacted. Music therapy provides individualised treatments to help treat individuals with disabilities, injuries, illnesses or to improve their well-being.

People suffering from emotional issues such as heartbreak, loss of a close relation, job or property have shown remarkable improvement using music therapy. Depression, which comes with all sorts of negative thoughts, can be adequately managed through the application of music therapy.  The popular Christian song, “It Is Well With My Soul”, originally written by Horatio Spafford, has remained a reassuring source of hope, even in the face of the worst situations of life. Losing all his daughters in the famous wreck of the SS Ville du Havre, Spafford summoned the emotional fortitude as he sailed to England to meet up with his surviving wife. He wrote the song while on that trip.

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Many people have overcome their depressive states listening to this particular hymn. The reasons are not far-fetched. Our sub-conscious minds usually gives way to affirmations that we repeatedly declare until they become a part of us. Thus, God and all the forces of the universe create the enabling opportunities for those affirmations or aspirations to come to fruition. corroborates the psycho-therapeutic effect of music in balancing mood and boosting a positive mental outlook. According to the website, “New research shows that even sad music can lift your mood, while other studies suggest music can boost happiness and reduce anxiety. From the drumbeats of our ancient ancestors to today’s unlimited streaming services, music is an integral part of the human experience. Researchers have pondered the possible therapeutic and mood boosting benefits of music for centuries. Even sad music brings most listeners pleasure and comfort, according to recent research from Durham University in the United Kingdom and the University of Jyväskylä in Finland, published in PLOS ONETrusted. Conversely, the study found that for some people, sad music can cause negative feelings of profound grief. The research involved three surveys of more than 2,400 people in the United Kingdom and Finland, focusing on the emotions and memorable experiences associated with listening to sad songs. The majority of experiences reported by participants were positive”.

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The famous Swedish group ABBA, in one of their international hits, shed more light on the power of music thus:

“… Thank you for the music, the songs I’m singing.

Thanks for all the joy they’re bringing

Who can live without it, I ask in all honesty

What would life be?

Without a song or a dance or a dance, what are we?

So, I say, thank you for the music

For giving it to me…”


The psycho-therapeutic power of music cannot be overemphasised in a world constantly molested by troubles of all shades. So, whenever there is a tense, sad, unpleasant or frustrating situation, a song of hope or a chant of victory can turn the tides in our favour. Debasish Mridha has said it all – “Music can heal the wounds which medicine cannot touch.”


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