Using Music to Ease Post Traumatic Stress

Music is a powerful influencer. It can help get us through our day, recall memories, or set a mood. It can be the background for our favorite movies, coerce us to buy products, or change how we think in any given moment. Its influence is undeniable. So, then, how can we channel that influence for good? To help us learn? To solve problems?

How many ways can we harness the positive power of music?

Can music ease anxiety, relieve stress and help us cope with a difficult set of circumstances?

Can music really do more than help us sleep, feel energized, or relax us after a long day? Can it help individuals who have been victims of trauma? Can it ease anxiety, relieve stress and help us cope with a difficult set of circumstances? Is it possible that music could help our children learn more effectively?

Yes, definitely. Music can have an undeniable impact on our brain state.

I have spoken to many people about the impact of music in their lives…from veterans who must have music to help handle PTSD, to people who insist on music to relax on their drive home from work. And thousands of individuals buy concert tickets to hear their favorite artist or band because it makes them feel good, and they can dance and sing with their fellow fans. Of course, there is that ever-present battle with our kids and their iPods.

No denying it; music is a significant phenomenon in our culture because of its powerful influence over how we think and feel. So, it follows logically that music can also provide a great deal of healing, hope and help to those who are struggling.

Neuroscientific research shows how certain types of music can positively impact us.

To enable the positive promise of music, we need to understand how it impacts our brain states neuroscientifically. Since Lakeside is able to create therapeutic environments, we have worked with our music therapist Joe Hesh to develop what we are calling brained-based and trauma-informed music.

Lakeside is using this special music in our therapeutic schools. We have used it in different ways and at different times of the day and seen its impact on our students. We play it in our hallways and on our grounds. We also allow our students to use it personally.

The music is largely instrumental (without lyrics), but is designed with rhythms and beats to match the need of the brain to calm or become motivated or to focus and stabilize. We will continue researching the impact of this music, along with other relational strategies, as we work with students who have are working to overcome diverse struggles and obstacles that keep them from learning or progressing.

In my next few posts, I will be describing the music that we have developed.

Soon it will be available to the public at large on our website. It is our hope that this brain-based and trauma-informed music will be used in therapeutic settings, hospitals, homes and other places where people will benefit from its therapeutic values. Stay tuned for more information on this innovative and progressive therapeutic approach to brain-based therapy.

Gerry Vassar, President/CEO, Lakeside Educational Network

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