15 Mar Mission Minute: Exploring Creative Expression through Music Therapy
by Kathe Rae, Manager of Mission Integration and Volunteers
While there are certainly many differences in cultures throughout the world, music is something shared by all and is often referred to as the universal language. Music inspires powerful connections in so many wonderful ways: providing a means of expression, evoking positive emotions, stimulating the senses and elevating moods. Most importantly music is fun!
Five years ago, New Hope recognized the need to provide one-on-one therapy, and our Music Therapy program was implemented. The program began at our Payne Road location with one board-certified music therapist and eventually expanded to our Castleton location. Today, we are glad to have Caitlin Bernhart and Ashton Driscoll serving our music therapy clients. Caitlin and Ashton serve both adults and children, utilizing an extensive array of therapeutic strategies. Initially, clients are introduced to many different instruments and music-related activities, to assess their interests, build a rapport and identify potential goals.
With so many creative therapeutic options available, the focus is very specific to each individual. Pounding on drums, strumming a guitar, tapping and shaking a tambourine and playing the piano all provide the needed movement and corresponding sound with a clear connection to their cognition, memory and emotional state to work on fine and/or gross motor skills. Others may work on singing, song writing or listening to varying music genres which increases confidence, enhances coping skills and addresses emotions including grief and anxiety. Sometimes, the activities are not directly related to music such as blowing bubbles which helps to strengthen breaths for improved vocalization. For Caitlin and Ashton, it is truly about helping the individuals find their passion through creative music expression in a comfortable and safe environment.
“Music speaks what cannot be expressed, soothes the mind and gives it rest, heals the heart and makes it whole, flows from heaven to the soul.”