4 Types of Music Used in Therapy

by | May 17, 2020 | Blog, Brainspotting

Therapists may integrate any of these four types of music into your sessions for part or all of the counseling session to specifically reach your brain and enhance your brain’s healing capacities. Music Therapy, on the other hand, is the use of creating music, singing, moving to, and/or listening to regular music as a part of therapy.

Bi-lateral music

Bi-lateral music is used as a part of Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. The sound alternates between the left and right sides of the head in a steady, rhythmic pattern. The rhythmic shift is predictable and can be alerting to some.


BIO-lateral music

BIO-lateral music was created by Dr. David Grand, the developer of Brainspotting (BSP), and is used as a part of Brainspotting therapy. It is hand panned to increase in volume in the left ear then decrease in volume before slowing increasing in volume in the right ear then decreasing, back and forth…rocking gently between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. It is intended to be played through headphones at a very low, almost imperceptible volume. Many people find it calming while also deepening access to the midbrain for deeper processing.

Bilateral and Biolateral music can be found readily online and through popular music platforms; however, it is always recommended that you try it first in the presence (physical or via Telehealth) of an attuned therapist to determine how your brain is likely to respond. If you and your therapist believe it fits for your process, you may use them at other times during your week or you may only use these types of music while working with your therapist. While the two can easily be confused, they are different. I recommend searching for “David Grand” or “Brainspotting” if you are looking for biolateral music, although other options do exist. I believe these free options qualify as biolateral


Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP)

Safe & Sound Protocol (SSP) uses prosodic vocal music that has been filtered to train the middle ear to tune out low frequency sounds which can be considered signals of danger, while tuning into high frequency sounds that signal safety, like human voices. SSP is a stand alone protocol recommended for those with trauma, autism, auditory sensitivities, etc. SSP is a protocol that requires oversight by a trained SSP provider. As a therapist licensed in Indiana and Massachusetts, I am able to work with individuals in those states through remote delivery. You can find other providers in your area here


Binaural beats

Binaural beats is a technique of combining two slightly different sound frequencies, one in each ear, to create the perception of a single new frequency tone in the brain. Different frequencies are used to promote relaxation and positivity or concentration and alertness. While it can be used as a part of entrainment, binaural beats is not a part of a specific therapeutic treatment. Binaural beats are also readily available online. While some therapists have introduced binaural beats into the therapy process, it is not a part of any specific therapeutic process. Please proceed with caution if trying binaural beats.

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