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Music Therapy group a hit with service users

In January 2016, music therapy was introduced to our Community Links Engagement and Recovery (Clear) service.  One year on, the group is proving to be a popular choice for service users.

Taster sessions were held at the Huddersfield and Dewsbury offices during ‘Pick n Mix’ weeks to give as many service users as possible the chance to try and take part. Both the group and individual sessions are run by Rebecca Parnaby-Rooke a student music therapist from Nordoff Robbins, the leading independent music therapy charity in the UK.

Music therapy has had a very positive impact at Clear and supports Clear’s ethos of engaging service users in their own recovery journeys. Individual sessions per day are timetabled, plus one group session per week. During January to July 2016, 13 service users accessed individual music therapy, with 5 of those also accessing group music therapy. A further 10 service users have accessed group music therapy only.

Service user story :

David* saw the poster for the music therapy group when he came to Clear for his initial assessment and asked for individual music therapy. While he waited for a place David came to the weekly group, making quiet contributions and often just listening.

He was invited to individual music therapy sessions within four weeks and brought some hip hop tracks he had previously recorded to his first session. David and tutor Rebecca began some musical experiments improvising new riffs and adding her voice to David’s choruses. Hip hop music was not Rebecca’s area of expertise and David became her teacher, taking the role of the expert and explaining exactly how he wanted the music to sound. He even gave Rebecca homework!

David intends to get some studio time with a local music project so he can develop his new tracks even further. He has sustained a high level of commitment compared to his previous record within similar services, and has said that he misses the experience when he can’t get to a session.

Service user feedback and attendance at the group has meant that the group has been able to continue into 2017. Although Rebecca’s student placement has ended she will be coming back to the service to deliver a 1 hour community music group session each week which we envisage will continue into the future as part of our regular timetable.

“I have enjoyed music therapy it made me feel better and feel it’s therapeutic, helpful” – service user

“Good playing in time and key with other musicians” – service user

“A client of mine has found that it is a really good way for her to socialise in a positive and energetic environment” – Clear employee

“Music therapy lifts my spirits” – service user

*name of the service user changed for the case study

About Clear

Clear is a Kirklees based mental health service providing individual support and group sessions for service users who need help to engage with meaningful activity and make positive steps in their recovery journey.  A variety of groups are available including peer support, leisure activities and courses targeting specific needs such as anxiety.  For more information visit our Clear service page.