The Four ‘M’ Theory for Treating Depression (Part 2/4)

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 2.

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

Term used primarily for a setting, where sessions are provided by a board-certified music therapist. Music therapy [MT] (Maratos et al., 2008; Bradt et al., 2015) stands for the “…clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program” (AMTA)2. Many different fields of practice, mostly in the health care system, show an increasing amount of interest in [MT]. Mandatory is a systematic constructed therapy process that was created by a board-certified music therapist and requires an individual-specific music selection that is developed uniquely for and together with the patient in one or more sessions. Therapy settings are not limited to listening, but may also include playing, composing, or interacting with music. Presentations can be pre-recorded or live. In other cases (basic) instruments are built together. The process to create these tailor-made selections requires specific knowledge on how to select, then construct and combine the most suitable stimuli or hardware. It must also be noted that music therapy is offered as a profession-qualifying course of study.

In this review we examined whether, and to what extent, music intervention could significantly affect the emotional state of people living with depression. Our primary objective was to accurately identify, select, and analyze up-to-date research literature, which utilized music as intervention to treat participants with depressive symptoms. After a multi-stage review process, a total of 1.810 participants in 28 scholarly papers met our inclusion criteria and were finally selected for further investigations about the effectiveness music had to treat their depression. Both, quantitative as well as qualitative empirical approaches were performed to interpret the data obtained from those original research papers. To consider the different methods researchers used, we presented a detailed illustration of approaches and evaluated them during our investigation process.

Interventions included, for example, various instrumental or vocal versions of classical compositions, Jazz, world music, and meditative songs to name just a few genres. Classical music (Classical or Baroque period) for treatment was used in nine articles. Notable composers were W.A. Mozart, L. v. Beethoven and J. S. Bach. Jazz was used five times for intervention. Vernon Duke (Title: “April in Paris”), M. Greger (Title: “Up to Date”), or Louis Armstrong (Title: “St. Louis Blues”) are some of the featured artists. The third major genre researchers used for their experimental groups was percussion and drumming-based music.

We described similarities, the integration of different music intervention approaches had on participants in experimental vs. control groups, who received an alternative, or no additional treatment at all. Additional questionnaires confirmed further improvements regarding confidence, self-esteem and motivation. Trends in the improvement of frequently occurring comorbidities (e.g., anxiety, sleeping disorders, confidence and self-esteem)48, associated with depression, were also discussed briefly, and showed promising outcomes after intervention as well. Particularly anxiety (Sartorius et al., 1996; Tiller, 2013) is known to be a common burden, many patients with mood disorders are additionally affected with. Interpreted as manifestation of fear, anxiety is a basic feeling in situations that are regarded as threatening. Triggers can be expected threats such as physical integrity, self-esteem or self-image. Unfortunately, researchers merely distinguished between “anxiety disorder” (i.e., mildly exceeded anxiety) and the physiological reaction. Also, the question should be raised if the response to music differs if patients are suffering from both, depression and anxiety. Sleep quality in combination with symptoms of depression (Mayers and Baldwin, 2006) raised the question, whether sleep disturbances lead to depression or, vice versa, depression was responsible for a reduced quantity of sleep instead. Most studies used questionnaires that were based on self-assessment. However, it is unclear whether this approach is sufficiently valid and reliable enough to diagnose changes regarding to symptom improvement. Future approaches should not solely rely on questionnaires, but rather add measurements of physiological body reactions (e.g., skin conductance, heart and respiratory rate, or AEP’s via an EEG) for more objectivity.

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

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