Music Therapy

Music therapy is the systematic application of music in the treatment of the physiological and psychosocial aspects of an illness or disability. It focuses on the acquisition of nonmusical skills and behaviors, as determined by a board-certified music therapist through systematic assessment and treatment planning.

The Music Program

The Music Program was established in 1984. After attending a cancer support group at University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center, Deforia Lane presented an in-service training to a small group of the Cancer Center’s social workers, nurses and radiation technicians. This was done in appreciation for their support for her during her treatment and to inform them of the benefits of music therapy for cancer patients and their families. At the request of the staff, Dr. Hillard Lazarus, then head of the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit, offered Lane the opportunity to voluntarily provide music therapy to his patients. After one year they would discuss how to proceed. Dr. Lazarus encouraged the American Cancer Society to support Lane’s efforts and a $2000 grant was awarded to her to study “The Therapeutic Effects of Music on Oncology Patients.” Lane began to see patients four hours per week. Within six months the responses of the patients and staff led to a full-time position.

The program currently has three full-time music therapists (MT), one part-time MT and 2 MT interns. In addition two part-time art therapists (AT) and two AT interns create an intriguing, creative team. Nearly 50 MT interns have trained and served the University Hospitals and provided a positive and significant impact on patients, staff and families.

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