Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center

Music Therapy

Appointment New Patient Appointment or 214-645-8300

Music Therapy During your Cancer Journey

At the Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center, board-certified music therapists help patients reduce the disruption of cancer in their life. In addition to our state-of-the-art medical care, we offer music therapy, which has been shown to improve well-being and quality of life during and after cancer treatments. 

Why Music Therapy?

Music therapy is an established health care profession that uses specifically designed music interventions to address the unique physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. Through evidence-based techniques within the context of the therapeutic relationship – is designed to help you cope with your diagnosis and treatment, encouraging overall mental and physical wellness. 

Common goal areas: 


  • Improve quality of life and relaxation 
  • Decrease feelings of isolation
  • Encourage emotional expression
  • Support you and your family spiritually 
  • Promote positive communication and memory sharing with caregivers and family
  • Build community as a family or with other patients and staff in the clinical setting

Physical and Physiological 

  • Reduce pain and nausea, muscle tension, and anxiety 
  • Help regulate blood pressure and breathing rate
  • Support you during painful or anxiety-provoking procedures

What Happens in a Music Therapy Session?

Board-certified music therapists are trained to use a variety of evidence-based techniques and methods of applying music to foster therapeutic outcomes for patients and families.

Through discussion and observation with patients and caregivers or referral from medical staff, a music therapist will conduct an assessment in relation to the patient’s social, emotional, physical, or physiological needs and well-being. A patient’s musical background and music preferences will be identified and used as a reference as the music therapist designs goals and interventions to meet the patient’s immediate or future needs. While sessions are centered around experiencing music within the therapeutic relationship, patients do not need to be a musician or have a musical background to benefit from music therapy services.

Music Interventions can include:

  • Singing familiar, comforting songs together for reminiscence and emotional support
  • Guided meditation accompanied by soothing music to encourage relaxation
  • Writing original music or lyrics that shares your story
  • Talking about messages found in lyrics and what we can learn from them
  • Playing drums or other percussion instruments to release tension and stress

For more information, please contact Alex Huffman, LCSW, at 214-645-2742 or scccsupport@utsouthwestern.edu

Christina Shocklee, MMT, MT-BC

Board-Certified Music Therapist