Healing through Music Therapy
Young adults touched by cancer face a variety of unique challenges. From an early age they are exposed to events such as illness, pain, and suffering. As a result of this early exposure, many develop with an added level of knowledge and awareness about life. It’s essential for medical care practitioners to understand the needs of cancer patients, especially the unique factors and circumstances that impact specific generations and populations. A valuable part of effective support for young adults touched by cancer is connecting them with individuals their age who are sharing similar experiences. Recent studies have shown that engaging in a support group or creative workshop that promotes self-expression can have positive impacts on the health, wellbeing and self-esteem of young cancer patients.
Music plays a significant role in the lives of many individuals and can promote wellness, stress relief, relaxation, alleviate pain, and enhance memory function. Joining a creative workshop such as music therapy, will enable young adult patients with the opportunity to get in touch with their creativity and invite them to explore various facets of who they are. The role of music therapy is to offer structure and support to young adults, and to help them reflect on their experiences and identify what they value most. The positive impacts of this type of therapy have been shown through research studies in which patients who engaged in music therapy exhibited a stronger sense of resilience and motivation in dealing with their circumstances. In addition to this, displaying an improvement in social interactions and familial relationships.
Many music therapy support groups are interactive and allow patients to not only write their own song lyrics but to put together sound recordings, create a story line and essentially spearhead the entire creative production process. Patients that participate in music therapy can work by themselves or with involvement from friends and family members. Through engaging in a creative or self-expressive workshop like music therapy, young adult cancer patients will have an additional resource for navigating through their cancer experiences, as well as take steps towards improving their emotional and physical health and wellbeing.
Here at the Simms/Mann – UCLA Center for Integrative Oncology, we offer a support group for young adults currently undergoing cancer treatment that meets monthly and provides an opportunity to meet other young people with cancer and to discuss the unique challenges faced by this age group.
To learn more about additional resources offered to young adults touched by cancer at the Simms/Mann Center click here.
This blog post has been updated.