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Oxford Treatment Center adds music therapist

Sessions focus on expression, group dynamics

Oxford Treatment Center has added a board-certified music therapist to its staff, broadening its experiential therapy programming for the treatment of drug and alcohol addiction.

Hannah Roye, MT-BC, joined Oxford Treatment Center as a music therapist in August.

Hannah Roye, MT-BC, joined the staff in August. Her sessions are part of clinical programming for people in residential treatment at the Etta campus. They complement Oxford Treatment Center’s existing range of experiential therapies, including equine, wilderness, ropes course, art and mindfulness.

Music-therapy sessions help people build healthy new ways to understand and express their own emotions, as an alternative to using drugs or alcohol to cope with strong feelings.

“Many people in treatment relate music to a negative time in their life — when they were using substances and partying,” Roye said.

Music therapy provides a new meaning for music and helps people realize that they can express themselves in new ways they never thought about.

Instruments incorporated into music therapy sessions can include drums, guitars, tambourines, maracas and various other instruments. Each instrument supports a new way of self-expression through music.

“The focus is on expressing oneself positively through music, even when discussing and processing is hard,” Roye said. “Music gives people in treatment another way to dig into themselves and into what they are going through.”

That can include simply helping people recognize and cope with what they are feeling that day, she said.

“I look into how they are producing music and expressing themselves through their instruments,” said Roye. “Playing drums loudly can translate to anger or excitement, and playing quietly could mean that a patient had a hard morning or feels uncomfortable.”

The benefits of music therapy include the role it can play in group dynamics. Whereas people in active addiction isolate themselves and manipulate others, those who succeed in recovery learn to build healthy new relationships and embed themselves in a supportive community.

As with other types of group-therapy sessions, music therapy helps develop positive new ways of interacting.

“In a group, people in treatment can feel supported by their peers,” Roye said. “They compliment each other’s playing. They begin to play together, and their beats start to fall into each other. Soon they begin to feel connected and accepted in that setting.”

Music therapy is increasingly being recognized for the role it can play in helping people recover from addiction. Earlier this year, Las Vegas music therapist Judith Pinkerton, LMPT, MT-BC, was the first music therapist to receive a music-industry award from the Academy of Country Music. She leads sessions for those in treatment at Oxford Treatment Center’s sister facilities Desert Hope and Solutions Recovery.

Roye’s previous experience includes leading music therapy in such settings as memory-care units, retirement homes and schools. She also has experience working with adolescents and adults with substance use disorders.

Roye holds a bachelor of music degree from Mississippi University for Women. She is certified by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT).

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