The Kiwanis Club of Highland was introduced to music therapy during its Sept. 5 meeting when guest speaker AmyLynn Dimaano demonstrated the various techniques in which music is used to treat people dealing with addiction, depression trauma, grief and other emotional challenges.
Dimaano has been a music therapist since 2008 and opened her own private practice, Helping Other Purposely Evolve (H.O.P.E.), about 18 months ago after moving to Redlands.
Dimaano shared that her love for old houses and a deep desire to own one brought her to the area, purchasing a 1891 home in Redlands.
An adult music therapist who specializes in addiction, Dimaano shared that what makes music therapy so effective in help ease emotional distresses is that listening to and processing music is an activity that engages the whole brain and engaging the whole brain is needed to make important changes.
Most activities used in traditional therapy ⎯ such as remembering, decision-making and talking ⎯ use specific sections of the brain at a time.
While Dimaano supports traditional therapy and often refers patients to tradition therapists and/or doctors, she says music therapy is wonderful for people not open to traditional therapy, who are also seeing a traditional therapist or those who have tried traditional therapy and a seeking something different. Others use it as emotional maintenance.
Dimaano says she primarily uses classical music to take people on an imagery journey. This can be done in group or individual sessions.
Having patients experience these guided imagery tours helps them identify what they are really going through in life, she said.
Sometimes she will have people draw while they listen to specially designed playlists.
In another technique she asks people to drum their feelings.
“Drumming is wonderful because drums will reflect anything you feel,” Dimaano said. “Your body and feelings are rhythmic.”
She demonstrated this technique with the club highlighting the may different emotions and moods that can be expressed through drumming.
She said this technique is particularly helpful for those who suppress and don’t want to talk about their feelings.
Another exercise she recommended that can help people experience musical therapy is writing a letter to someone while listening to music, maybe that person’s favorite music.
“Music is powerful,” Dimaano said.
To contact Dimaano, visit H.O.P.E. at 414 Tennessee St., Unit Y, Redlands, musicempowers.com or call (909) 809-4150.