Crossroads of Music & Medicine


Dr. Annie Heiderscheit, Director of Music Therapy, Augsburg University, MN

Dr Heiderscheit begins with an historical overview, which is fascinating – see photo. She presents this slide with minimal comment due to pressure of time.

We see some quantitative (and remarkable) stats relating to public health issues – economic costs of addiction, trauma and pain – but Dr Heiderscheit suggests that the human cost of these issues is literally unquantifiable. They affect our health, relationships, wellbeing, security, purpose, community and environment. “We can work to slap band-aids on gaping wounds, but if we don’t address these areas we are not achieving [societal] well-being”.

The ‘Crossroads’ of the title, Dr Heiderscheit suggests, represents not only a human opportunity, but an economic one. Effective music therapies are a genuine cost saving in public health issues, particularly addiction, pain and trauma, on which the presentation now focuses. She cites a recent paper (Heiderscheit, 2017), a case study of addiction patients.

An individual case study “Ron” is presented, whose remarkable journey into image therapy (including music) is shown here:

Dr Heiderscheit now talks us through Ron’s therapy session, where he reflects on an image of a tree, as Ron remembers a more peaceful time in his life. Underscoring this, we hear Chopin Piano Concerto No.1 in E Minor, which was used as part of Ron’s rehabilitation/therapy. (Spotify)

We look at a description Ron’s self-reinforcing cycle of addiction and negative emotional states, and the therapeutic approach [JB comment – to my untrained eye, I infer this is a form of CBT] is described as a way to empower the individual to make a positive change in their lives.

“We all likely know someone in our lives who is impacted by trauma and pain. We want to bring hope and healing to them”.

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