What is Music Therapy?
In Western countries, Music Therapy is part of the professional medical supporting team. It is categorized under Creative Art Therapies (other therapies, e.g. Art Therapy, Drama Therapy and Play Therapy).
Music therapy is a clinical way of using professional music and musical elements to intervene, by a registered music therapist, which establishes relationships between the therapist and participants, in order to achieve various therapeutic goals.
Music therapists use a variety of musical skills, together with psychological, counseling and other theoretical knowledge, we design suitable music activities for participants, encourage participant’s emotional, physical and social well-being.
Music Therapy focuses on the process of treatment, rather than the merits of aesthetical musicianship. Participants do not need to have any musical background.
Music Therapy Settings
J.A.m. provides in-house and outreach therapy services incl.
Individual sessions (45 mins/ 60 mins)
group sessions (45 mins/ 60 mins/ 90 mins)
Please contact us for further information.
Selective Mutism (SM)
Selective Mutism (SM) is a severe anxiety disorder where a person is unable to speak in certain social situations, such as with classmates at school or to relatives they don't see very often.
A child or adult with SM doesn't refuse or choose not to speak, they're literally unable to speak. The expectation to talk to certain people triggers a freeze response with feelings of panic, rather like a bad case of stage fright, and talking is impossible.
In children with SM, the symptoms are usually present in early childhood between the ages of two and four. It is often first noticed when the child starts to interact with people outside their family, such as when they begin nursery or school.
People with SM:
avoid eye contact
appear nervous, uneasy or socially awkward
rude, disinterested or sulky
clingy to close friends and family
shy and withdrawn
stiff, tense or poorly co-ordinated
stubborn or aggressive, having temper tantrums when they get home from school, or getting angry when questioned by parents
some would use gestures to communicate
How does Music Therapy support this group of client?
A person who suffers from SM and people in his immediate surroundings like teachers and parents can experience high levels of frustration and even anger when it persists. Forcing a child to speak does not help. As suggested in the literature, approaches of intervention tend to work best when they occur in the places where the child does not speak. However, sometimes the child needs to be treated in a place that is outside of her regular and familiar environment, a place where she gets full attention and does not have to worry about not talking.
Music therapy can provide a safe environment for a child with Selective Mutism due to its nonverbal nature. It is a place where the child does not have to talk and can express herself via non-verbal means. Since the child does not need to talk, she can communicate and build up the relationship with the therapist via music. In this way (not being forced to talk) the child feels less anxious and starts trusting the adult therapist and slowly can open herself towards her.
Dorit, A. (2005). Giving voice to a voiceless child – Active music therapy with a girl who has Selective Mutism (www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/08098130509478127)
Music Therapy supports the clients by providing:
a safe, non-threatening setting between participants and therapists
a platform with musical means of expressions and communication for non-verbal communication, yet assisting in the development of verbal communication, speech & language skills with respecting the participant's decision not to talk
a platform for relationship building & trust building
a platform for self- expression and communication
stimulation for individuals to reduce negative/ self-stimulatory responses