There’s a great deal of research to suggest that listening to music, particularly music that is recognized and enjoyed, can excite the pleasure centers of the brain, resulting in pleasing experiences. Though it has recently been suggested that people experiencing feelings of depression and similar mental health concerns are closed off to the pleasurable effects of music, most people, in the presence of a favorite song, will notice a rise in mood. Such a rise can be of great importance to those in difficult physical and mental health situations, and a particularly talented nurse in Tennessee is helping this musical boost become big news.
Nurse Lori Sykes, who works with the Memphis Veterans Medical Center, has been playing the violin since the age of three, and now brings her instrument with her to work each day in case any of her clients request a song or two. While Sykes and her violin aren’t part of any study researching the connections between the music and the rates of recovery or improvement of overall mental well-being, the nurse, her clients, and her clients’ families note that the changes in mood and peace of mind are clearly visible.
The musical treatment comes at a time when many questions are being raised about the ability of the Veterans Association to provide quality care for service men and women in their times of need. Difficulties in securing proper care, tangles of baffling paperwork, legal battles over attorney representation in disputes, and a host of other issues such an inadequate responses to rising reports of difficulties with stress upon returning home have cast a negative light on health care providers for veterans. Yet Sykes and those like her, interested in treating not only the overt medical issues of clients, but in uplifting and supporting their mental health as well, may yet prove that there is still a lot of heart in the effort to care for the country’s veterans.
© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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