“Music and its elements are the core of being human. Those who are struggling to express their inner world may find this voice through the music experience.”
– Ronald M. Borczon, Music Therapy for Survivors of Traumatic Events
Family dynamics can be challenging, but during the holiday season they can be especially difficult. Holidays are often a time of stress, which can lead to feelings of anxiety, anger, hopelessness, guilt, and loneliness.
However, this time may also present new opportunities: a chance to connect with others. Music is a foundational way to communicate and foster that community.
Music has the potential to stimulate, activate, and inspire the mind, body, and spirit. It can enhance our quality of life and promote healing. Processing trauma can interfere with an individual’s quality of life, as our basic understanding of what everyday life “should” look like is profoundly transformed.
Through music, we will work to:
communicate our sense of self
build coping mechanisms
move closer to a new degree of normality
Structure of the sessions:
Four group sessions, two hours in length
All sessions will take place over Zoom
In music therapy, the following activities aid in addressing these objectives, finding ways to circumnavigate them, and build towards reconciliation with traumatic events. This, in turn, establishes new routines and ways to cope.
Drumming experiences – reduces anxiety, breathing empowerment as a core component of recovery, encouraging vocal healing, unified strength
Music listening – analyzing music from our lives, lyric discussion
Storytelling – finding connections between projections, symbols and self. Three components of storytelling include
How the story is told
The story itself. Either pre-existing story OR group created story based on listening to music examples.
Improvisation – opening up a portal for a person to feel freely, empathic improvisation, listening and supporting one another through music (breakout sessions), the dual roles of soloist vs supporter.
Songwriting – group bonding, creativity. As in Blues music, state an issue, state the solution.
What is the effect of the trauma
What are you going through now?
What do you want to happen in the future?
Processing the meaning
Through these creative experiences with music, we can connect with what cannot easily be expressed verbally and rebuild a new sense of normal.
Music therapy is an evidence-based clinical use of musical interventions to improve clients’ quality of life. Music therapists use music and its many facets— physical, emotional, mental, social, aesthetic, and spiritual— to help clients improve their health in cognitive, motor, emotional, communicative, social, sensory, and educational domains by using both active and receptive music experiences. These experiences include improvisation, re-creation, composition, receptive methods, and discussion of music.
Music transcends time and is present in all communities throughout the world. Given the universal nature of music, music therapy is uniquely able to reach individuals across all backgrounds and ages. It does not require any previous knowledge for individuals to meet their goals and be successful. Music therapy provides individualized treatments to help treat individuals with disabilities, injuries, illnesses or to improve their well being.
What is music therapy? (from American Music Therapy Association)
Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.
Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people’s motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.