Swindon UK Workshop April 2020

What is song therapy?

Song therapy is a new approach to recreational singing and music making in the community and in social care. It promotes responsible, informed and sensitive leadership ensuring at all times the well being of music group participants.

It is very important to say that song therapy is not music therapy which is a clinical healthcare profession. Rather, song therapy offers a range of very specific therapeutic goals that can be responsibly pursued in recreational settings.

Familiar popular music and adventure too

As the link between music and wellbeing becomes increasingly recognised, community singing groups are now attracting many of us facing health challenges in our own lives and indeed the lives of our loved ones.

So song therapy celebrates the role of familiar, well known popular music. A way of offering a safe and secure space for many who might be new to community singing and yes, those who might be facing up to difficult times too.

Beyond this song therapists know exactly the right time to introduce new music and new adventures too; often many weeks, months or sometimes even years later; music from different cultures, song writing; performance; opportunities for self expression, new learning, cognitive stimulation; understanding; confidence and self worth.

Song therapists are carefully trained in professional human relationships, sensitive group leadership, person centred thinking and self awareness. They are members of CHP, Complementary Health Professionals, an established association of complementary health practitioners based in London. CHP is also allied to the Complementary and Natural Healthcare Council, the government sponsored agency that promotes professional practice in complementary and alternative therapy.

Therapeutic music making

Song therapy establishes clear boundaries that define what can and cannot be achieved therapeutically in recreational settings.

Song therapists encourage expression of feelings and emotions through music making but they do not actively explore feelings and emotions through their music. So, song therapists do not build psychological therapeutic relationships with their music group participants. Instead they promote a very clearly defined range of physiological therapeutic outcomes. This is an important difference between recreational song therapy and the clinical healthcare profession of music therapy.

Wellbeing and good health

So, song therapists promote well being and improved health through relaxation and acceptance; cognitive stimulation; reminiscence; new learning and understanding; social inclusion; encouraging motor and verbal capacity; co-ordination; micro exercise and exercise too; the temporary relief of anxiety and depression; a helping hand on a journey towards physical and mental health, a sense of connection with self and others.

Self worth.

Philosophy, psychology and science

Song therapy draws inspiration from established child development psychology; creativity, connection and play. It offers a loose philosophical framework too, rooted in the tao, humanism and existentialism, yet embracing different religious and theological traditions without a need for judgement. Finally it embraces established research and evidence based practice and applies this in a responsible way in community and social care settings.

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