Date of Award

Spring 6-6-2019

Document Type

Honors Project

University Scholars Director

Christine Chaney

First Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. Carlene Brown

Second Advisor/Committee Member

Dr. David Bradshaw


posttraumatic stress disorder, neuroplasticity, neurorehabiliation, music, music therapy, trauma


This review discusses the neurological components of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and how both structures and processes in the brain are altered in individuals with the disorder, specifically the neural network that includes the prefrontal cortex, the hippocampus, and the amygdala. This impacts awareness and responsiveness to stimuli. After examining these aspects, invasive and non-invasive treatment approaches are examined, with a specific emphasis on the treatment approach of music therapy. Musical stimuli are processed in many areas of the brain, so it has therapeutic potential for modulating neurological changes. Music therapy applies music clinically to address a variety of goals for clients with PTSD, including emotional, social, and cognitive objectives. Music therapists with an understanding of neuroplasticity and neurological impairments associated with PTSD can approach their practice with more specific goals and strategies for helping clients recover.