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Music in recovery pasadena ca

Music is considered the international language of love, but it is also the means by which we communicate and process feelings and emotions much of the time. As prevalent as music is in our culture and cultures across the globe, it makes sense that it could be instrumental in addiction recovery as well. In fact, studies have shown that incorporating music into the recovery process often means better outcomes. Pasadena Recovery Center understands the vital role music plays for many of our clients and features music therapy for those wishing to explore this outlet.

Staff Spotlight: Butch Warner

Butch Warner, our psychotherapist and addiction specialist, has been serving clients at Pasadena Recovery Center since 2004. His vast background in music, both as a multi-instrumentalist and composer, has equipped him to bring music therapy to our center. He started the program to teach clients more effective methods of communication, and it has been a popular option on our regular schedule since that time.

Explaining Music Therapy

Music therapy has been defined by the American Music Therapy Association as “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship.” Scientists have found that music is a way to teach communication and expression of feelings to people that have long used substances to lock away those emotions and reactions. By reclaiming your ability to feel and communicate, you break free of the addiction chains and learn healthier ways to relate the world and those around you.

Music and the Brain

Studies have found that music has a positive effect on the brain as well. In fact, music therapy can repair some of the damage caused by substance abuse by enhancing brain function and reclaiming the reward systems within the brain. Harvard scientists specifically found in 2001 that music does indeed have healing power on the brain and can restore brain function after a substance abuse disorder left impairment behind.

Benefits of Music Therapy

In addition to its healing abilities on brain function, music therapy can offer the following benefits to clients in addiction recovery programs:

  • Enhance relaxation and lower stress levels overall
  • Improve symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Encourages and supports healthy feelings and thoughts
  • Provides a way to express feelings
  • Increases concentration and problem-solving skills
  • Improves self-image and self-esteem

On a physiological level, music can even lower blood pressure and reduce muscle tension. Whether you use upbeat music to improve your mood and increase energy levels, or softer music to soothe your soul, music offers a myriad of positive results to those who listen to it regularly.

Using Music in Your Recovery

You can incorporate music into your therapy in a variety of ways:

Write Music– Even if you have never written a song before, sometimes crafting your feelings or experiences into a musical piece makes it easier to express them.

Learn to Play an Instrument – The process of learning an instrument engages the brain in ways that will enhance brain function overall, even repairing some of the damage caused by substance use and abuse.

Listen to Music – The simple act of listening to different styles of music can help you manage and communicate your emotions, meditate, relieve stress and provide motivation. Creating different playlists for different purposes provide you with the music you need for any situation that might arise.

Use Music to Meditate – Meditation is beneficial in addiction recovery, but it can be challenging to train your mind to focus on meditation after long-term substance abuse. Music can help to center your mind, preparing you for more in-depth meditation exercises as time goes on.

Join a Drumming Group – Drumming has been found to reduce stress and provide you with a positive way to spend your free time. Drumming with a group also gives you a sense of belonging, as well as the opportunity to meet others that enjoy the activity.


Incorporating music into your treatment program is just one healthy step on the way to recovery. Find out more about the path to recovery today by contacting Pasadena Recovery Center today at 866-663-3030.

The Experience

Admissions Process

Many people find the very idea of entering a rehab facility daunting. We at the Pasadena Recovery Center want to ease your fears and assure you that we will be here with you every step of the way. Many people believe that the hardest step is the very first one – contacting us – and then it gets progressively easier.

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Typical Day

A typical day at PRC consists of specialized groups such as Anger Management, Grief and Loss, Relationships, Relapse Prevention, Gratitude Group, Groups hosted by Mackenzie Phillips, Gary Richman, and more. Also you’ll get one-on-one counseling sessions with our specialized treatment team, as well as family sessions.

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Expert Speakers Series

At the Pasadena Recovery Center we regularly bring in community leaders and addiction experts to educate our residents, alumni and staff. For example, the Nation’s top drug official, Gil Kerlikowske (photo right), spoke about the California marijuana legalization ballot measure (Prop. 19) prior to the 2010 election.

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