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UnityPoint music therapist explains the benefits of the practice

A certified music therapist uses music to help patients of all ages with behavioral and mental health.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Madi Pote is a board-certified music therapist at UnityPoint Health who uses music to help people in other areas of life.

"We use music as the medium to address non-music goals," Pote said. "So through the music, we typically use live music, and we're able to adapt the music to fit any patient's or client's needs."

Emily Betsworth is a behavioral health counselor at UnityPoint. She said the work Madi does for youth at her facility alters their mood for the day.

"It's really awesome to see how the kids react to her music and just even the mood they are in through the afternoon is just such a difference after she has been here, " Emily Betsworth, said.

Pote creates songwriting activities using sticky notes and ad-lib techniques to help the therapeutic process.

"It's really amazing to watch their faces light up and see the process, especially if they end up wanting to help sing or rap the song at the end," Pote said. "Because they realize as a group, we were able to come up with this cohesive piece, something that we thought we would have had to do individually."

Betsworth has also started to see the kids starting to express themselves more in Pote's music sessions.

"Madi does a really good job of kind of coaxing it out of them and putting it into words," Betsworth said. "A lot of my older kids will talk about how they connect with music, so it's really cool to see them put that into action."

Pote works not only with kids, but also with people in hospice and behavioral health treatment programs. She said her techniques can partner well with other practices.

"In music therapy, we really like the opportunity to be able to enhance other therapies... It can really enhance their opportunity or be more, more motivating," Pote said.

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