At Haven House I have been co-facilitating a
‘Music and Mindfulness’ group with a Child and Family Therapist (CFT) this fall.
We started the group after some women requested some sort of space or time for
meditative relaxation. As the music therapist my role is to create a musical
environment that facilitates mindfulness (focusing ones thoughts and being
conscious of the present moment) and peace. This is done through improvising
soft and slow melodies with piano, acoustic guitar and voice. Women are
encouraged to rest and ‘receive’ the music at this time, but also may sing
along. On a usual week the CFT will lead a verbal guided imagery while I
accompany through musical improvisation. This week our CFT was not available so
the entire session was a musically improvised guided imagery using the voice
and piano. The woman who came to the group, who I will call Julie, wanted the
guided imagery to be about climbing mountains since this was her ‘safe place.’
I began to sing without words and play slow and grounding chords. To my
surprise, Julie began to sing with me in harmony. As the music continued I sang
a guided imagery of a trail through the mountains. Julie sang along with me in
harmony until the end of the session. Afterward, Julie expressed that she felt
so peaceful and relaxed during this time. She explained detailed images of the
mountaintop landscape that she saw in her minds eye during the session. She
reminisced about her adventures in the mountains. Hope filled the atmosphere as
she spoke. Julie’s life, as most women in the shelter, is difficult and filled
with turmoil and unspeakable hardships. Julie shared that singing is one of the
only things she feels she has ‘left’ during this time. It is a reservoir of
strength and hope for her. Julie avidly requested individual music therapy
sessions with me and continues to find deep meaning and resilience as we sing
and create music together.

Leanne Metsa, BMT, MMT Candidate, MTA

Bachelor of Music Therapy, Master of Music Therapy Candidate and Music Therapist Accredited