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Clinical Services: Adult through Geriatric

Sickle Cell Anemia

Image: Louis Armstrong

About Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder, characterized primarily by chronic anemia and periodic episodes of pain. The clinical course of sickle cell disease does not follow a single pattern; some patients have mild symptoms, and some have severe symptoms. However, in all cases the sickle-shaped red blood cells tend to get stuck in narrow blood vessels. When this occurs, it is often accompanied by acute pain crisis. (Source: http://www.ascaa.org/what_is.htm American Sickle Cell Anemia Association)

Music Therapy and Sickle Cell Disease
As pain is a predominant feature associated with sickle cell crisis, pain management is a primary focus of music therapy services provided. Additional goals of care address psychosocial issues related to coping with chronic illness, which is especially important as reducing levels of emotional stress can help to reduce physical pain and prevent a sickle cell crisis. A medical music psychotherapy approach is to address physiological symptoms of pain and the conscious and unconscious thoughts and feelings of patients with chronic and acute pain. Clinical improvisation provides an alternative, nonverbal means of release for a patient in pain. Active music listening techniques including music visualization, redirection and music-assisted relaxation may reduce the perception of pain as well as decrease stress.

Our expert team of music therapists is trained to offer the most current medical music psychotherapy techniques in pain management, sedation and breathing modalities of music and healing. Music therapy sessions may include live improvisation, drumming, gong and vibration, toning, guided visualization, song writing, song sensitation and music meditation with the guidance of a music therapist.

Clinical Services currently available can include a range of experiences:

  • Music therapists provide monthly support group sessions for outpatient adults with sickle cell disease. The group gathers once a month to share the experience of living with sickle cell anemia and to explore the healing properties of music for pain-reduction, tension release and stress-reduction to improve quality of life by creating meaningful musical experiences.
  • During hospitalization due to a sickle cell crisis, music therapy services are also provided in individual bedside sessions to provide continuity of care.
  • Group members also participate in integrative multi-modal projects that include the use of art, writing, photography, and body movement. The group has the opportunity to share these projects and their work with creative arts modalities with the community during open functions.

Related Research and Articles
For articles from peer-reviewed journals, research studies and authoritative literature, please see the bibliographies in the Suggested Reading section. Additional information is available through Websites listed on the Related Links page.

For Questions and Further Information
For questions and further information about music therapy or referrals for yourself, your loved ones or your patients, please call (212) 420-2704 or email info@musicandmedicine.org.

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