Music Therapy

The Music Therapy Program at the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) offers patients a wide range of music experiences to enhance their well-being during treatment.

What Is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is the use of music to support therapeutic goals and needs. We use music interventions to restore, maintain, and improve emotional, physical, and physiological health and well-being. The music therapy program at SCI offers both inpatient and outpatient one to one sessions, group sessions, and treatment center visits. 

Benefits of Music Therapy

Research shows that music therapy can reduce pain, anxiety, and nausea caused by chemotherapy. It can enrich one’s overall quality of life by promoting positive coping skills and addressing the needs of the body, mind, and heart.

The use of music during cancer treatment has been shown to affect the mind and body in the following ways:

• Lower blood pressure
• Reduce stress while prompting relaxation
• Effect positive changes in mood and emotional state
• Reduce anxiety and depression associated with cancer treatment
• Provide non-pharmacological management of pain and discomfort

In the video below, Betsy Hartman, music therapist, provides a simple guided meditation to promote relaxation and reduce stress.

What to Expect

The Swedish Cancer Institute’s board-certified music therapist weaves in components of Neurologic Music Therapy and guided imagery and music in each session. She provides a supportive and individualized one-to-one atmosphere where patients, family members, and caregivers can creatively explore new ways to support their health and healing. Sessions are 60-90 minutes long. No prior music experience or confidence required.

Music-therapy techniques include:

• Music in Psychosocial Training and Counseling
• Therapeutic Instrumental Music Performance
• Therapeutic Singing
• The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music
• Music-centered relaxation and meditation techniques
• Singing and songwriting
• Instrumental improvisation and music playing
• Focused listening and lyric discussion

Appointments & Referrals

One to one sessions with the SCI music therapist are available by referrals and appointments only. To receive a referral, please speak with your social worker or call 206-386-3200. For more information about our drop-in music therapy groups, please see the Cancer Support Groups and Education flyer.