Jamie first came to Child & Family Center through the crisis department. His teacher contacted the Center when he became agitated in the classroom and threatened other students. He also said that he wanted to die. The crisis team was able to stabilize Jamie and he was referred to Kristen, an outpatient therapist at the Center.
Jamie expressed an interest in music. Since Kristen facilitates the Music & Movement Group, she felt that Jamie would greatly benefit from participating. The group helps children who struggle with social skills, are impulsive and may have suffered from trauma that limits boundary setting. Music helps them to self-regulate and maintain a sense of calm, as well as learning how to play well with others. Creative arts therapy can be extremely helpful when talk therapy itself isn’t effective. It is especially helpful for children who are high risk and need access to a full array of services.
On the first day, Jamie struggled with expressing his feelings. He was overwhelmed and upset. Kristen gave him a scarf and asked him to move it to show how he was feeling. After several sessions, he was comfortable waving the scarf and was able to express himself. During their individual sessions, they were able to talk about what had happened in the group, and how to ask for help from the other children.
Often, children like Jamie are teased by their peers. The use of music, dance and games in the group make it a perfect therapeutic setting. Since most of the children are struggling with similar issues, they are more tolerant and learn to support each other in a safe therapeutic space. This unconditional support helps children to gain confidence.
Jamie completed two 8-week group sessions. He not only learned how to express his feelings, he encouraged others to follow the rules and has developed into a leader for other children to follow. He is able to manage his behaviors now, even in a non-therapeutic setting. He learned to love drumming while in the group, and is now enrolled in drum lessons. His individual therapy is also winding down.