The four ‘M’ theory for treating depression (Part 1/4)

The Four “M” Theory for Treating Depression was formulated by Prof. Jose Maria G. Pelayo III (2019) in order to have a guide for intervention in a dynamic systematic method based on scientifically based data. This Theory includes MEDITATION, MUSIC, MOVEMENT and MEDICATION inclusive of their specific components. A combination of all methods can be utilized depending on the mental health practitioner’s recommendation to their client. All of the contents of this collation of literature are empirical based and had positive effects in treating depression. This is a collection of related literature and related studies that may support a construct to treat depression.

But in this article, only the facet of MUSIC will be elucidated. This will coagulate the proficiency of utilizing Music Therapy and Music Psychotherapy as interventions in treatment for individuals with depression. Since the content of this facet is too extensive for just an article, this was subdivided into four (4) part successions. This is PART 1.

“The objective of Music Therapy and Music Psychotherapy is to create neural changes in the brain that stimulates improvement of psychological and behavioral functions of individuals diagnosed with the wide array of mental health problems.” – Prof. Jose Maria G. Pelayo III

Depression is a very common mood disorder, resulting in a loss of social function, reduced quality of life and increased mortality.

Music interventions have been shown to be a potential alternative for depression therapy but the number of up-to-date research literature is quite limited. We present a review of original research trials which utilize music or music therapy as intervention to treat participants with depressive symptoms. Our goal was to differentiate the impact of certain therapeutic uses of music used in the various experiments. Randomized controlled study designs were preferred but also longitudinal studies were chosen to be included.

28 studies with a total number of 1,810 participants met our inclusion criteria and were finally selected. We distinguished between passive listening to music (record from a CD or live music) (79%), and active singing, playing, or improvising with instruments (46%).

Within certain boundaries of variance an analysis of similar studies was attempted. Critical parameters were for example length of trial, number of sessions, participants’ age, kind of music, active or passive participation and single- or group setting. In 26 studies, a statistically significant reduction in depression levels was found over time in the experimental (music intervention) group compared to a control (n = 25) or comparison group (n = 2). In particular, elderly participants showed impressive improvements when they listened to music or participated in music therapy projects.

Researchers used group settings more often than individual sessions and our results indicated a slightly better outcome for those cases.

Additional questionnaires about participants confidence, self-esteem or motivation, confirmed further improvements after music treatment. Consequently, the present review offers an extensive set of comparable data, observations about the range of treatment options these papers addressed, and thus might represent a valuable aid for future projects for the use of music-based interventions to improve symptoms of depression.

SOURCE: Daniel Leubner* and Thilo Hinterberger (2017) “Reviewing the Effectiveness of Music Interventions in Treating Depression”

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