How Music Can Help A Child Recover From Trauma

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Children can be very resilient when it comes to trauma and its effects, but they can also face a lifetime of emotional and behavioral issues if the trauma goes untreated. Abuse, neglect, or being the victim of an accident can take a toll on a child’s self-esteem and their ability to function in the world. One of the ways therapists and counselors help treat these issues is by using art therapy to help the child cope with what happened and express their feelings about it.

Art therapy can include visual art, dance, or music and any variation in between. Being able to express their feelings about what they’ve been through is an important part of growth, and often it helps them accept the past, find comfort in knowing that other people have been through the same thing, or move on.

Here are some of the best ways music can help a child recover from trauma.


For many children who have survived a trauma, being able to express themselves through music is a wonderful way to get out repressed feelings about what happened to them, whether that includes shame, anger, guilt, or all three. Studies have shown that music helps children process events and emotions and can help them get back on track in school and social activities.


Often, children who have experienced difficult or stressful events have a hard time socializing with others. They tend to withdraw and, depending on the severity of their trauma, may have a deep distrust of other people. Music has a unique bonding effect, especially when the individual creates music themselves through song or by playing an instrument. When paired as a therapy alongside having a service animal, music can have a lasting and positive effect.

Moving on to other creative outlets

Music can help form an interest in other creative outlets, such as reading and writing, which can be therapeutic for victims of trauma. Writing–especially journaling, creating poetry, and songwriting–can be highly useful for these individuals and can help with elevating mood, coping with thoughts and emotions, and learning what events trigger certain feelings.

Managing feelings

Being able to manage feelings is an important part of recovering from trauma. Music can help a child learn how to cope by studying the powerful effect music has on emotions and why we are triggered by specific things to laugh, cry, or feel afraid.

Music can also help a child relax, especially after they’ve been in an especially stressful environment. Playing soft classical songs can help ease anxiety and assist in boosting mood, as well as helping with sleep.

Memory and brain function

Trauma can have a devastating effect on a child’s memory and brain capabilities, while music can help improve these areas and can even boost performance in school. Studies have shown that playing music can make a person smarter and more productive, as well.

By Jeff Watson