Should art and music therapy be covered by health insurance?

Should art and music therapy be covered by health insurance?
Image: Should art and music therapy be covered by health insurance?

Yes, art and music therapy should be covered by health insurance. Evidence shows that it is an effective form of treatment for a variety of mental and physical health issues including depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD and chronic pain. Research has also found that these therapies can have a positive effect on overall well-being and quality of life for individuals who receive them. As such, providing coverage for art and music therapy under health insurance plans would help to provide access to these beneficial services for those who need them.

I. History of Art and Music Therapy

I. History of Art and Music Therapy
Image: I. History of Art and Music Therapy

The use of art and music therapy to treat illnesses dates back centuries. Ancient cultures in India, Egypt, Mesopotamia, China and Greece are known for incorporating visual arts such as painting or writing into their healing rituals. Music was also used as part of these rituals; ancient Egyptians believed that playing stringed instruments could restore health and balance the human body’s energies. Similarly, Native Americans used percussion instruments like drums for religious ceremonies and healing practices. Through the years, this holistic approach became embedded in certain medical practices throughout the world.

In modern times, art-based therapies began to be recognized by medical practitioners from all fields. As early as 1845, English physician Dr William Ellis observed a patient who had been treated with music therapy for an unspecified mental condition and noticed an improvement in her behavior due to it. Fast forward to the twentieth century: In 1946 Austria-born psychiatrist Edith Kramer started using art psychotherapy within psychiatry units; while his American counterpart Viktor Lowenfeld established what is now considered today’s first Art Therapy training program at Hahnemann Medical College (now Drexel University) in Philadelphia during the 1950s–a huge milestone in history of medicine at large.

Today’s art therapists use various tools including drawing, painting and sculpture making–among many other mediums–to help their clients discover themselves through their own creative processes of self-expression or facilitate change within them when they’re having trouble finding it on their own. Music therapists employ instruments such as drums or guitars during sessions to provide relaxation techniques or increase positive feelings towards certain topics. They do so by targeting emotions through musical analysis which helps individuals improve communication skills or deal with stress more effectively among other things. By doing so, art and music therapy have become increasingly popular over time not just among patients but also psychiatrists looking for alternative treatments outside medications.

II. Benefits of Art and Music Therapy

II. Benefits of Art and Music Therapy
Image: II. Benefits of Art and Music Therapy

While there is a wide body of research that supports the efficacy of art and music therapy, it is worth noting some of the specific benefits that can be derived from engaging in these activities. This article will explore some key advantages offered through utilizing this treatment option.

Art and music therapy helps to reduce stress levels while improving relaxation techniques. Stress can take a toll on our physical and mental health, leading to anxiety, depression, and other conditions. Through incorporating both visual arts and musical instruments in therapeutic settings, individuals are able to manage their stress levels more efficiently by focusing on creative tasks such as painting or playing an instrument rather than ruminating on negative thoughts or feelings. This type of therapy may also lead to enhanced self-awareness as well as improved communication skills with peers.

Numerous studies have found positive correlations between participating in art or music therapy sessions and improving one’s overall sense of wellbeing. By allowing participants to express themselves in a nonverbal manner while participating in enjoyable activities such as drawing or singing, people tend to feel more energized after their sessions rather than drained like they might after conventional forms of psychotherapy. By allowing them access new forms of expression without judgement or expectation, many find healing through tapping into their internal emotions via the expressive mediums provided by art and music therapies.

III. Challenges With Insurance Coverage

III. Challenges With Insurance Coverage
Image: III. Challenges With Insurance Coverage

Despite the effectiveness of art and music therapy, there are a few key challenges to their implementation on a broad scale. Foremost among these is how insurance companies view such treatments in terms of reimbursement. Currently, many providers do not offer coverage for them, meaning that patients must foot the entire bill out-of-pocket if they opt to receive treatment. Insurance companies might be hesitant to cover these therapies because they can be expensive and can often involve multiple sessions over an extended period of time. Also, some insurers may be reluctant to classify them as viable medical treatments due to lack of research or other evidence backing up the efficacy of such therapies.

Another important challenge relates to the fact that much art and music therapy relies on personal interpretation by therapists in order to assess progress made by each patient’s individual needs and abilities. This makes it difficult for insurers who typically prefer more objective metrics that are easy to measure when determining if treatments are worthy of coverage or not. Some patients may feel uncomfortable or uncertain about taking part in activities like painting or playing musical instruments as part of their therapy sessions, making it hard for health professionals prescribing such treatments from being able to accurately gauge its benefits even if taken advantage off. While art and music therapy can prove invaluable tools towards helping those recovering from physical or mental illness obtain better long-term results from traditional medical procedures, convincing insurance companies about their value has yet remain a formidable issue impeding their widespread integration into healthcare systems worldwide.

IV. Evidence-Based Research on Effectiveness

IV. Evidence-Based Research on Effectiveness
Image: IV. Evidence-Based Research on Effectiveness

As research on the effectiveness of art and music therapy continues to grow, studies are revealing that these forms of treatment can be just as powerful as more traditional methods. Art and music therapy may even offer an advantage over conventional treatments in certain scenarios.

One study found that combining traditional cognitive behavioral therapies with art or music therapy greatly increased the rate of recovery in patients suffering from depression, addiction, anxiety disorders, and other mental health conditions compared to when cognitive behavioral therapies were used alone. This suggests that art and music therapy could significantly improve patient outcomes when employed alongside existing therapeutic practices.

Another study revealed that individuals who used art and/or music therapy had improved self-esteem compared to those who did not receive such treatment. The results demonstrate how this form of non-traditional healing can have a positive impact on one’s emotional well being. Therefore, making it potentially beneficial for people dealing with depression and other mood-related issues.

It is clear evidence-based research has demonstrated the effectiveness of art and music therapy both as standalone treatments or adjunct therapies. Perhaps then it is time for insurance companies to reexamine their current policies in regards to covering these alternative forms of healing so people can access them more readily if needed – either instead of or in addition to more traditional methods already covered by insurers.

V. Professional Guidelines for Providers

V. Professional Guidelines for Providers
Image: V. Professional Guidelines for Providers

One of the most important considerations for the use of art and music therapy in healthcare settings is the presence of well-defined professional guidelines. These are essential to ensure that patients receive treatment from qualified practitioners who can provide effective, safe services. Providers must be trained professionals with appropriate credentials, such as board certification or state licensure. They should also have completed specific coursework related to art and music therapies. They must adhere to any relevant standards set by their national or international health organizations when providing these treatments.

When it comes to understanding these guidelines, providers need a comprehensive framework that takes into account all aspects of their role and responsibilities as an art and music therapist. For example, they should be able to effectively assess clients’ needs and tailor their approach accordingly; choose suitable materials; collaborate with other members of the health care team; evaluate treatment outcomes; take steps to avoid burnout; maintain detailed documentation; provide referrals for additional support if needed; remain up-to-date on latest developments within the field; keep records secure and confidential at all times; comply with ethical principles outlined by accredited bodies such as The International Association for Music & Imagery (IAMI); protect client rights throughout each session, among other things.

Some therapeutic approaches may require providers to develop specialized interventions tailored around individual patient profiles – emphasizing personal preferences such as listening preferences or artistic ability levels – which necessitates additional qualifications including advanced certification training or certifications from specialties such as hospice arts therapy or expressive arts therapy. There are certain mandatory safety protocols that practitioners must abide by at all times – such as wearing proper protective gear when working with hazardous materials –to reduce risk associated with potentially harmful activities while ensuring maximum benefits can be obtained during treatment sessions.

VI. Current Insurance Coverage Trends
Image: VI. Current Insurance Coverage Trends

In recent years, the trend of health insurance providers offering coverage for music and art therapy has been steadily increasing. As mental health continues to become a more visible issue among individuals in both urban and rural communities, many insurers are responding by providing better access to treatments such as art and music therapy. In addition to their established coverage of therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychotherapy, and counseling sessions, some of the larger insurers have started covering art or music therapy for people with conditions like depression and anxiety.

Although art and music therapies are still considered alternative forms of treatment that cannot guarantee complete remission from mental disorders, research studies show that these can make significant contributions to an individual’s overall well-being when utilized in combination with traditional therapeutic approaches. For example, a 2018 study conducted by Harvard Medical School found that patients with moderate levels of depression benefited from participating in weekly therapeutic painting classes over a three-month period. During this time frame, participants showed decreases in their depressive symptoms along with improved self-esteem.

In order to promote greater access to these forms of therapy across all populations, some organizations have taken it upon themselves to provide funding opportunities for those who may not be eligible for insurance coverage due to financial restrictions or other factors. Through initiatives such as The National Institute on Mental Illness’s Art Therapy Grant Program, which seeks applications from clinicians who offer low cost or free treatments within underserved communities, individuals have increased access points into otherwise inaccessible treatments – ones which could potentially help them achieve long term stability for their mental health challenges without having to worry about financial burden associated with insurancce premiums payments.

  • James Berkeley

    Based in Bangkok, James simplifies insurance with a personal touch. Proud alumnus of the University of Edinburgh Business School with MSc in Law.