A-Z List


Goals and Methodologies

Specific Types-Mesothelioma

Problem Areas for Clients /Music Therapy Goals for Problems

Pain - alleviate pain/tolerance/take mind off

  • Depression - help with nausea/vomiting
  • Anger - accommodate fatigue
  • Worry - feel better about hair loss
  • Loneliness - help regain some appetite
  • Stress - regulate blood pressure
  • Tiredness - regulate breathing/make more steady
  • Fear - enhance mood

Chemotherapy - re-develop cognition skills

  • nausea/vomiting
  • fatigue/infection

Radiation Therapy

  • fatigue
  • skin changes (dry, flaky/weepy/blistering
  • loss of appetite


  • flu-like symptoms
  • rash
  • drop in blood pressure
  • difficulty breathing

Cancer treatments in general:

  • cognition function
  • mood
  • quality of life
  • poor nutrition

Types of Music Therapy Activities

  • Song recognition-for cognition improvement
  • Make up songs-cognition, mood, etc.
  • Relaxing music-pain, nausea, etc.
  • Harmonica-breathing
  • Upbeat music-blood pressure, mood, etc.
  • Songs that involve food or silly songs about losing hair (good with children)
  • Instrument use if not too tired-mood, loneliness, anger (take out frustrations)

Problem Areas for Clients

  • Loss of self-esteem
  • Loneliness
  • Lack of family support
  • Loss of motivation and will to live
  • Loss of physical, emotional, and spiritual strength
  • Increased amount of worry, fear, and anxiety-examples: tx, chemotherapy/radiation, losing hair, and being really sick
  • Increased physical pain and discomfort
  • Loss of job or delay of schooling

Fears, Needs, and Concerns of Cancer Patients

  • Fears
    • Isolation
    • Increased Pain
    • Increasing Dependence
    • The unknown
  • Needs
    • Honesty
    • Physical/emotional support
    • Emotional expression (anger, anxiety, guilt, depression, and fear)
    • To be able to communicate
    • To stay a person
    • Approval from family of medical treatment
    • To protect family/friends from pain of their death
  • Concerns
    • Hurting others (family, friends, etc.)
    • Uncertainty
    • Unfinished business
    • Losing independence
    • Being forgotten

Music therapy goals for targeting these problem areas

  • Loss of self-esteem
    • Increase self-esteem
    • Make patient aware of own abilities
  • Loneliness
    • Develop a relationship with the patient
  • Lack of family support
    • Introduce family to music therapy efforts
    • Family has an understanding of therapy
  • Loss of motivation and will to live
    • Increase motivation
  • Loss of physical, emotional, and spiritual strength
    • Increase physical strength and mobility
    • Increase range of motion if needed
    • Help patient take his/her mind off pain or circumstances
    • Help patient understand the concept of a higher being who is in control of situation
  • Increased amount of worry, anxiety, and fear
    • Help patient take his/her mind off worry, anxiety, and fear
    • Help patient understand the realities of what lies ahead as far as treatment, their illness, and mortality
  • Increased physical pain and discomfort
    • Help patient take his/her mind off of pain
  • Loss of job or delay of schooling
    • Assist in preserving job and/or schooling efforts

Music Therapy methods used for treatment

Music therapy can be used to relieve a lot of the stress and fear involved in a hospital stay and the unfamiliarity of the hospital and equipment. The music therapist can write songs about the child's surroundings and about the equipment used to help familiarize the child with it and decrease the fear. Hands-on musical participation is greatly encouraged to let the child know and understand that time in the hospital can be enjoyable and fun. Having the child's parents/family involved in the therapy sessions will comfort the child and possibly make the child feel at home in this different environment.

Music therapy can be used to benefit adult cancer patients in more complex ways. Using music together with the suggestion that it will reduce pain or when music is used with imagery techniques can assist in the reduction of pain in the patient. Also, listening to certain relaxing music can increase the patient's pain tolerance and decrease the patient's heart rate, anxiety, and depression. For patients with a low will to live, having the opportunity to make music themselves may increase their motivation to live and may serve as an outlet for emotional release. To increase motor skills, the music therapist can encourage the patient to participate by playing various instruments in the therapy session. Some examples include using a keyboard with blinking lights to indicate which keys to depress to play the melodies of specific songs, playing the omni-chord, and/or playing the guitar. Most cancer patients don't need to improve motor skills unless there is some other medical condition present that causes difficulty in this area. Allowing the cancer patient to choose music and then playing that music for listening episodes may be used to focus on the music and off pain or depression that may be present.

In the case that the patient dies, the family will experience a process known as the grieving process. There are 5 stages of the grief process. They include: (1) denial, (2) anger/resentment, (3) bargaining, (4) depression, and (5) acceptance. There is a process that music therapy follows in the different stages of the dying process. Music therapy can serve as a catalyst to make it okay for the patient to talk about his/her emotions that otherwise would be threatening. Music therapy also offers the patient comfort and reassurance. It can help the patient make spiritual connections from this world to the next. It gives the patient permission to let go. Music therapy also can offer hope and meaningfulness. And finally, music therapy can be used at the funeral and offer appropriate music to display the emotions of the patient and of the family. Jacqueline Peters describes a three-part music therapy process for dealing with grief: contact, awareness, and resolution.