Whidbey General Hospital

Music Therapy Supports Healing at Whidbey General

For more than 10 years, Whidbey General patients have experienced comfort and healing through the Music Therapy Program, which encompasses clinical music therapy services, a live music program and therapeutic use of recorded music.

Music therapy can address:

    • Pain management
    • Breathing difficulties
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Cognitive functioning
    • End-of-life comfort
    • Communication difficulties

Research indicates that music can boost immune systems, raise pain thresholds and reduce use of sedative and analgesic drugs by as much as 50%. One study showed that music therapy reduced patient anxiety by an amount equal to an additional tranquilizer dose. When working with a music therapist, patients might engage in any or all of the following: listen to live or recorded music, use relaxation techniques with music and imagery, sing or play musical instruments, or write music, and/or move to music.

Barbara Dunn, PhD, LICSW, MT-BC coordinates the Music Therapy Program at Whidbey General and supervises music therapy interns, such as current intern Channing Shippen, a student at Berklee College of Music in Boston. Becoming a Board Certified Music Therapist requires a bachelor’s degree in music therapy and a minimum of at least 1,200 hours of clinical training.

Dunn also oversees the Live Music Program, which brings in volunteers from the community to play music around the hospital. Their gifts of time and talent support the healing environment at Whidbey General.

“I love the music you share, it makes the struggle easier, thank you,” says one patient.  “It brings happy tears, smiles, relief and comfort to patients. This is why the hospital is a special place.”

Your gift to the WGH Foundation can be designated to support music therapy.

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