A Description of the Use of Music Therapy in Consultation-liaison Psychiatry

Roia Rafieyan
Rose Ries


Music therapy is gaining increasing recognition for its benefit in medical settings both for its salutary effects on physiological parameters and on psychological states associated with medical illness. This article discusses the role of a music therapist in consultation-liaison psychiatry, a specialty that provides intervention for medical and surgical patients with concomitant mental health issues. We describe the ways in which music therapy has been integrated into the consultation-liaison psychiatry service at Hahnemann University Hospital, a tertiary care facility and major trauma center in Philadelphia. The referral process and some of the techniques used in music therapy are explained. Anecdotal observations illustrate how a music therapist incorporates the various elements of music as well as the experiences of engaging in music making to bring about changes in mood and facilitate expression of feelings and social interactions in patients who are having difficulty hospitalization. These methods have also been observed to have positive effects on the hospital staff by making available a means with which staff can express pressures inherent in direct patient care. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)