Music can be used to assist the relaxation process, and to teach relaxation skills for independent self-care (Gfeller & Thaut, 2008, p. 219).
Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT): Music therapy can be an effective treatment modality by which to alter catastrophic thinking or irrational thoughts which trigger anxiety. Music can be used to facilitate relaxation for clearer thinking, support gradual exposure to sequences of fearful stimuli, and to teach relaxation techniques for independent self-care (Gfeller & Thaut, 2008, pp. 218 - 219).
Relaxation Scripts: Soft, ambient music should be played as background music, while the therapist reads or improvises appropriate relaxation scripts. Attend to pitch and cadence of the reading.
Tension-Release: Tension-Release instructs practitioners to tense their muscles for a brief period of time in order to practice releasing the tension and relieving the body of physical stress. Create repetitious music that synchronizes with the tense and relaxed timing of PMR. The body quickly entrains to the music and patients will focus more on the experience of tension and the practice of relaxation. After identifying with bodily stress, patients will be more aware of their heightened emotions and better cope. Following this sequence of tension and release, soft background music can be used to assist relaxation scripts.
Gfeller, K. E., and Thaut, M. H. (2008). Music Therapy in the Treatment of Behavioral-Emotional Disorders. In W. B. Davis, K. E. Gfeller, and M. H. Thaut (3rd ed.) An Introduction to Music Therapy: Theory and Practice (pp. 209-246). Silver Spring, MD: The American Music Therapy Association, Inc.
James E. Riley, MT-BC