How effective is music therapy for depression?
The small number and low methodological quality of the studies mean that it is not possible to be confident about the effectiveness of music therapy. Marked variations in the interventions offered, the populations studied and the outcome measures used meant that quantitative data synthesis and meta-analysis was not appropriate.
Music therapy has been used in a variety of ways to treat depression. Active techniques may be used when participants cannot articulate difficult feelings, enabling therapist and patient to connect in an improvised dialogue, which can then act as a springboard to emotional awareness. Receptive techniques involve the use of pre-composed music for relaxation, reflection, guided reminiscence and change of mood state.