That’s the First Time I’ve Smiled in Three Months

This was the reflection of Allison [pseudonym], a patient at UofL Health – Peace Hospital after engaging in instrumental improvisation in music therapy. Just days prior, Allison was contemplating suicide. Her years-long battle with depression and anxiety had led her to a place of hopelessness and despair when she came to Peace Hospital for help. In music therapy, she was able to engage in musical experiences specifically designed to meet her needs in a non-threatening way, offering opportunities for relaxation, self-expression, and emotional processing with a board-certified music therapist. The music fostered a sense of safety for Allison and allowed her to find solace and peace, and in her words, just have fun. This moment of reprieve allowed Allison to move forward in her treatment with a renewed sense of hope.

Music therapy is the evidence-based integration of musical engagement in the therapeutic process to meet individualized patient goals, such as stress management, anxiety reduction, positive coping, mood improvement, emotional expression and processing, self-esteem development and more. Patients engage in active music-making, music listening, mindfulness and grounding, song discussion, songwriting and movement to music. Our board-certified music therapists facilitate trauma-informed musical experiences for each individual or group, focusing on empowerment and providing opportunities for reflection. Our patients frequently report that they feel more grounded, less anxious and better able to handle stressors after participating in music therapy. Music therapy can also foster a sense of safety and community in groups, leading to improved patient outcomes overall.

The music therapy program at Peace Hospital has received great recognition last spring, music therapist Melanie Wiseheart, MT-BC was awarded the MUSE Award from the Great Lakes Region of the American Music Therapy Association. With her award funds, Melanie chose to purchase a digital piano for her clinical practice. Integrating the piano into sessions has been a huge success, as patients enjoy listening to and playing the piano along with Melanie.

Last summer, Peace Hospital was recognized as a Ukulele Kids Club (UKC) hospital and received several ukuleles for our pediatric patients. These ukuleles are used in music therapy sessions, and they are also sent home with patients who show a special aptitude and interest in playing the instrument when they leave the hospital. UKC replenishes the ukuleles as their supply allows, with no limit to how many ukuleles can be given away to patients. This program represents our music therapy program’s commitment to excellence, advancing the vision of transforming the health of our communities through compassionate, innovative and patient-centered care.

UofL Health – Peace Hospital has an Assessment and Referral Center that offers a no-charge assessment, call 502-451-3333 for more information. You can also contact the 24-hour crisis and information center line at 502-589-4313 or 800-221-0446.

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UofL Health

UofL Health is an academic health system with six hospitals, four medical centers, 200+ physician practice locations, more than 700 providers, the Frazier Rehab Institute and Brown Cancer Center. With more than 12,000 team members – physicians, surgeons, nurses, pharmacists and other highly skilled health care professionals, UofL Health is focused on one mission—one purpose—delivering patient-centered care to each and every patient—each and every day.

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