Spotlight: Music Therapy at Swedish Cancer Institute

May 28, 2019 Betsy Hartman, Music Therapist – Board Certified, MT-BC

At the Swedish Cancer Institute (SCI), music therapy (MT) is a free service open to oncology patients, family members, and caregivers.  As part of the psychosocial oncology team, music therapy works with people who are recently diagnosed, in active cancer treatment, or in survivorship.

What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is a healing modality, led by a board certified music therapist. Through activities such as singing, instrument playing, songwriting, and listening to music, participants are invited to explore how music can support physical, emotional, and spiritual health. 

Music Therapy Outcomes:

After attending an individual or group MT session, participants often expresses that they feel more relaxed, centered, and self-aware. Each session is designed to offer a meaningful in- the- moment experience while providing tools to be used independently at home or in the community. Our goal is to create a safe space that is designed to improve mindfulness and relaxation while decreasing distress, anxiety, or pain. 

What if I am not a musician?

It is important to know that a background in music, confidence in music, or experience with music is NOT required to participate in music therapy. Music therapy is for anyone and everyone!

Who is SCI’s Music Therapist?

Perhaps you have seen someone walking around with a bundle of ukuleles or a small harp.  That’s Betsy Hartman, SCI’s music therapist.  She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Music Therapy from Seattle Pacific University and is a certified neurologic music therapist.  She is the founder and owner of PNW Music Therapy, LLC and has worked with SCI since 2014 to establish a music therapy program for SCI patients.  Prior to her work with SCI, Betsy worked alongside individuals with neurological diagnoses such as Alzheimer’s, Down syndrome, and Autism.

How to Get Involved with Music Therapy:

Individual Sessions:

Free 50 minute session with a board certified music therapist focused on using music to address your unique strengths and therapeutic goals.


  • Ukulele
    • Wednesdays (ongoing) 2:00-3:00PM.  Learn how to the play the ukulele! This free, drop-in group is open to oncology patients, family members, and caregivers. No music experience required. All materials provided. Located in the 5th Floor Healing Forum in the Arnold Pavilion.
  • Music and Wellness
    • Thursdays (ongoing) 12:30-1:30PM. Explore the healing benefits of music through a supportive group setting. This free, drop-in group is open to oncology patients, family members, and caregivers. No music experience required. All materials provided. Located in the 5th Floor Healing Forum in the Arnold Pavilion.    
  • Art, Music, and Mindfulness
    • Explore a variety of topics with a focus on relaxation and stress-reduction.  Led by SCI’s Art and Music Therapist.  Offered at all three network sites, see other flyer for additional details.


Treatment Center Visits

Music to boost your mood or improve relaxation during your treatment center visit. Offered at First Hill on Thursdays (ongoing) and at Edmonds and Issaquah 2 times per month. 


Schedule Your MT Session Today:

Patients and family members are welcome to schedule appointments directly with Betsy by telephone or e-mail.  Additionally, you can find out more information by talking with your social worker or visiting the Cancer Education Center.

Do you have questions or comments about SCI’s music therapy program, contact Betsy today!

Email: || Phone: (206) 386-6711


Did You Know?

Singing can improve the oxygen and blood flow throughout your body, and in order to sing, you must breathe, and mindful breathing can reduce anxiety and distress.  So, try this – for 5 minutes, 1x per day, sing.  Sing anything that comes to mind.  Sing loudly and proudly.  Take a deep, mindful breath and as you fill your lungs with fresh air, release your music into the world!  


Support the MT Program

The SCI Music therapy program is generously funded by philanthropy. To donate or learn more about how you can support our Music therapy program, contact Jeff Walker at or 206-386-3194

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