Music Therapy

The music therapy program at the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI) offers complimentary individual and group music therapy to SCI patients, family members, and care partners.

What is music therapy?

“Music therapy is 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” - American Music Therapy Association.

All sessions at SCI are facilitated by a Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC), which means the facilitator has a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in music therapy, has completed 1,200 hours of supervised internship, and has passed the national board certification exam in addition to maintaining the required continuing education credits to remain credentialed.

SCI’s music therapists are part of Supportive Care Services and collaborate with your care team while you receive treatment.

How can music therapy help me? 

Music therapy is a treatment modality that enhances your cancer treatment plan. Music therapists are trained to use music interventions to support physical and mental health during and after treatment. Music therapy may help:

  • Reduce stress and anxiety
  • Manage pain 
  • Increase relaxation 
  • Improve sleep hygiene 
  • Promote creative coping skills 
  • Enhance mood

What can I expect during a session?

In a creative, safe, and supportive setting, participants are invited to explore the healing benefits of music through individual, group, or treatment center sessions. Some components of music therapy include:

  • Listening to music 
  • Instrument playing 
  • Music improvisation 
  • Heartbeat songs
  • Personalized music and mindfulness tracks
  • Singing 
  • Songwriting 
  • Lyric discussion 

No prior music experience or confidence required to participate in music therapy.

What types of services are offered?

Individual Sessions: Complimentary 60-minute session with a focus on using music to address each person’s unique strengths and therapeutic goals during and after cancer treatment.

Group Music Therapy: Weekly music therapy groups are offered virtually. Login details are provided via the weekly music therapy newsletter – contact Betsy for details.

  • Ukulele Group: Wednesdays (ongoing) 2 - 3 p.m.  
  • Music and Wellness Group: Thursdays (ongoing) 12:30 - 1:30 p.m.

Treatment Center Visits: 5-20 minute sessions offering live music designed to decrease stress and increase relaxation.

Music Medicine: Curated music medicine playlists designed to reduce anxiety and stress during minor procedures. Talk to your clinic about Music Medicine playlists if you are receiving a bone marrow biopsy procedure, gamma knife treatment, or radiation therapy.

Research highlights

Support music therapy at SCI

The music therapy program at SCI is generously funded through philanthropic support. Donations from the community help make this program possible. To donate or learn about how you can support our music therapy program email Jeff Walker or call Jeff at 206-386-3194.

Questions and scheduling

To find out more or to schedule an appointment, email Betsy Hartman or call Betsy at 206-386-6711.

For more information about our drop-in music therapy groups, please see the Cancer Support Groups and Education flyer.