University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Office of Medical Communications

Hudziak Shares Success Story of Vermont Family-Based Approach, Music in Mental Health

James Hudziak, M.D., UVM Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Pediatrics, and Director, Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families. (Photo: Courtesy of UVM Medical Center)

An innovative model for treating children and families pioneered by James Hudziak, M.D., professor of psychiatry, medicine and pediatrics at the University of Vermont College of Medicine, whose recent research touts the neuropsychiatric value of playing a musical instrument, is highlighted in this new UVM Medical Center video featuring a local Vermont patient and his parents.

“When you've been through the very difficult and horrible and fearful experience of having a child of yours ill . . . and the uncertainty of what you're going to do about it, you’re in a really tough place,” says Hudziak in the video.

The Gibson family struggled with their son Kelley’s mental illness and finding effective treatment. When they met with Hudziak, who also serves as director and founder of the Vermont Center for Children Youth & Families, they learned new strategies and approaches to Kelley’s issues that empowered them – and Kelley – and led to a remarkable transformation.

“The model of the Vermont Family-Based Approach grows out of this argument that all health comes from emotional-behavioral health,” Hudziak explains in the video. “It’s pretty simple: human emotion is common to all of us, exists on a continuum, and lives in the brain, and we can change the structure and function of your brain by changing your environment -- through music, through sports, through fitness. And then when you intervene, you intervene at a family-based level, promoting health.”

Visit the Vermont Center for Children, Youth and Families web page.