Today we’re talking about music therapy and how it’s being used to help individuals on their road to recovery.


It’s hard for us as human beings to deal with things in life that cause us inner turmoil, fear, anxiety, depression, or guilt. These emotions are so heavy and hard to deal with.

So, we seek a respite – we seek something to help us get away from it all. There are many ways that we can distract ourselves from the things that are causing us pain.

We can do this in a positive way, such as meditation, listening to music, or perhaps walking in a beautiful garden. But, if instead, we’re consistently doing something self-destructive, such as getting high, getting drunk, or choosing some other unhealthy distraction, then it might be time to seek help.

Board certified Music Therapist, Tim Ringgold, joins me today to share how music interacts with the brain and why this is relevant to addiction treatment and recovery.


We Discuss:

  • “Grief avoidance response mechanisms” and the role that grief plays in addictive disorders
  • How music therapy can decrease anxiety and increase mindfulness and healthy coping skills
  • Some of the biggest myths that we have around making music in our culture today
  • How music interacts with the brain and why it’s relevant to addiction treatment and recovery
  • Different ways that we can interact with music therapeutically for a healthy form of respite
  • Using music to tap into four different domains of a person: physical, mental, social, and spiritual


“You’re going to need to have strategies to be able to stay present and not get stuck. Music can help our recovery – our culture doesn’t fully appreciate on the surface just how powerful of a tool it is.”  –  Tim Ringgold


About Tim:
Image of Tim Ringgold

Tim Ringgold is a board certified music therapist and Director of Sonic Divinity Music Therapy Services in Orange County, CA.  

He provides music therapy to teens and adults in residential treatment centers.

He is also author of the upcoming book, Sonic Recovery: Harness The Power of Music To Achieve Relief From Addiction, and is a sought-after speaker, having shared the stage with some of the top researchers and clinicians on the subject of music and the brain, as well as the first person to give a TEDx talk on music therapy.

In addition, Tim regularly teaches at conferences around the country providing fun, interactive workshops for other health professionals.  

Tim is the Western Region Chapter President of the American Music Therapy Association.  Personally, Tim walked into his first 12-step room on Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2003, so he knows first-hand what it’s like to work AND PLAY a program of recovery.


“The key is that in music therapy the music is the metaphor, so everything we are doing in music therapy then we are taking out of the music and into a person’s life. When you make music you’re present because you have to stay on the beat and sometimes you get out of rhythm. Let’s talk about the rhythm of your recovery – what was your lifestyle like that was contributing to your downfall? What were the rhythms that really weren’t serving you? You’re going to have to change that rhythm.”  –  Tim Ringgold


Resources Mentioned:


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Check out the video below to watch our live interview: