Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Music & Performing Arts

First Advisor

Richard Bains


Music therapy has been a viable means of treatment for various medical conditions such as; treating PTSD, mental illness and even used alongside cognitive behavior therapy practices. Since the 70’s licensed therapists have been utilizing music therapy to combat the effect of addiction caused by substance abuse disorders. Addiction impacts the lives of one in ten Americans and only eleven percent seek help in forms of addiction treatment centers or 12-step-programs. With the combination of music therapy, addiction patients can discover feelings and emotions that have been suppressed through years of substance abuse. Forms of music therapy being examined for the purposes of this paper include; writing lyrics, improvisational percussion, instrumental practice and group practice. By explain a brief overview of Alcoholic Anonymous and interviewing members if the program, the reader will see how the practices have helped anonymous members maintain sobriety for various lengths of time. Popular musicians, such as Eric Clapton and Mike Ness, have also utilized music in their own sobriety to continue to live a life of sobriety and thus allowing them to create music to this day. I also use music therapy practices in my own sobriety and hope to learn more about the music therapy field as I continue to pursue a career in music education. Music as a form of therapy allows patients to tune into their feelings in a new creative way while addressing the reasons behind their addiction.