Music Therapy assists Rogers patients

10/14/17 06:08:pm

music2.jpgMusic therapy is an important part of treatment at Rogers Memorial Hospital–Brown Deer. According to Heather Hodorowski, MS, MT-BC, LPC, manager of Experiential Therapy, it helps patients with anxiety management, emotional expression, distress tolerance, and other issues

Music therapy’s effectiveness isn’t restricted to mental health, and Heather describes it as being useful for “many, many varied populations including individuals with developmental disabilities, neurological rehabilitation needs, and acute medical needs in addition to individuals with mental health needs.” 

Describing exactly how music therapy works could fill an entire article on its own, according to Heather, but she likes to break it down into three, digestible points.

The first is that music is processed by the entirety of the brain – making it distinct from other stimuli – which allows it to “immediately affect emotion, movement, speech, and cognitive functioning,” Heather says.

Music is also something that humans have a relationship with, whether you’re using it to get pumped up at the gym or enjoy relaxing tunes when winding down for the day.

And finally, Heather describes music as a “stimulus that is flexible, adaptable, and accessible therefore allowing it to be used in treatment with an individual of any level of functioning.” 

Getting to Know Heather

Heather says that music became her passion at a young age, and she grew up playing a variety of instruments. She started piano and organ lessons at age five and would later add the clarinet, violin, and guitar to her ensemble. The idea of combining her passion for music with healthcare first came about while she was spending time with her mom, who worked as a Post Anesthesia Care Unit nurse, in a hospital.

“My young brain that was already very involved in music started observing the responses of patients and what they were going through,” she says. “I started to process and wonder if there was a way that music and patient care could be combined with positive results. After college I discovered the profession of music therapy and the rest is history.”

In her spare time, Heather enjoys reading, all things football and shopping. She also owns a small business—Inana Rhythms—which provides drum circles and rhythm-based events with the mission to build community, enhance connections, and facilitate change. 

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