Skip to main content

The ABCs of CMN: “M” is for MUSIC Therapy

Being hospitalized can be a scary thing … especially for kids. A child’s ability to cope depends on many factors, including age, diagnosis and available support systems. While several of these factors are unpredictable, pediatric patients at UC Davis Children’s Hospital can count on one thing for sure: Child Life and Creative Arts Therapy.

UC Davis Children’s Hospital Music Therapist, Tori Steeley, leads a specialized session based on patient needs.

Funded, in part, by Children’s Miracle Network Hospital donations, this department supports pediatric patients in many ways. Music therapy is one of them.

An allied health profession, similar to occupational therapy and physical therapy, music therapy uses music as the medium to help patients achieve goals. Although a recognized profession, many don’t understand what a profound difference it can make for hospitalized kids.

In the hospital setting, music therapists use music interventions to assist with pain management, self expression, socialization and to normalize the hospital environment. The science behind this approach is well documented and the creative, emotional and energizing impacts on health and wellbeing can be profound.

“Music has the ability to meet a patient exactly where they are in that moment,” said UC Davis Children’s Hospital music therapist, Tori Steeley. “While we are playing music together, we’re building a therapeutic relationship and at the same time, allowing the patient to feel safe expressing themselves.”

One patient mom sums it up this way: “When my daughter hears music, it ‘frees her spirit’ and she can forget – even if just for a few minutes – that she’s in the hospital. She smiles. She’s happy. She’s herself.”