Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Healing Power of Music

'My music helps healing'

Dr Ian Gilchrist says music can be cathartic

GP Dr Ian Gilchrist is a firm believer in the power of music.
He plays the piano, flute, guitar, saxophone and Celtic whistles.

Once he dreamt of becoming a conductor or pianist.

But now he uses his music to help heal his patients, having long been interested in music as a healing tool.


He believes music can prove cathartic for some patients with emotional problems, stress and grief.

And if his patients prove responsive to the idea of music therapy, the Liverpool GP offers to give them a copy of his Celtic influenced CD "Journey from Slavery".

I am a very conventional doctor, but I do like to use other sources for emotional problems where conventional medicine has little to offer

Dr Ian Gilchrist

Sometimes, for patients he knows well and with whom he has built up a level of trust, he even plays live.

"I do give CDs away to patients if I feel it is appropriate, after I have done some probing to see if music is important to them."

But Dr Gilchrist said he did not use music therapy to replace medicine.

"I use it as an adjunct.

"I am a very conventional doctor, but I do like to use other sources for emotional problems where conventional medicine has little to offer.


"Music can unlock emotional problems. It is particularly helpful with grief where people can find music very cathartic.

"Generally the responses have been very positive, particularly where a person is sensitive to music.

"I think that these sort of people have responded very positively, some of them have found it very cathartic and it has released a lot of tears."

Dr Gilchrist's partners are also all musical and play clips from his CD on the practice's 'on-hold' system.

Dr Gilchrist said they had all been very supportive to him.

"They understand I am not using it exclusively or going off the rails and realise that I am not thinking that my music is all that is needed to sort people out."

Dr Gilchrist even composed a piece especially for the opening of their new surgery.


The CD has already produced some positive feedback, both from surgery patients and others.

Jason, an inner city teacher, said: "I'd used all the skills I could muster to engage a rebellious child who caused so much bedlam and heartache.

"I had your CD and threw it on......for the first time in months he worked independently with concentration, discipline, even a smile!

"Who says music is on its way out in the curriculum?"

Joe, who has cancer, said: "Thank you for the gift of your wonderful CD. I have played it through several times and been enthralled by it. I will treasure it for the rest of my time."

Anyone logging into Dr Gilchrist's website can hear segments from the CD.