Inspirational Story On The Healing Power of Music

When you break a bone you visit a doctor. When you need a tooth taken out you visit a dentist. When your car breaks down the obvious choice is to call AAA or a mechanic.

When a child is abused however, who to go to for help for healing is not always clear or easy. Many abused children suffer the effects of abuse for many years after the fact, with issues such as depression, anxiety, substance abuse, psychological effects and in others, they turn to crime and the cycle of violence repeats itself.

It cannot be stressed enough how important finding support and starting the therapeutic process can help heal the broken soul. One way that healing can be found is by using music as therapy.

Follow this link to read the inspirational story of a young woman who suffered abuse at the hands of a clergyman and how music healed and inspired her: http://tinyurl.com/qywd5w9


The Benefits of Music Therapy

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A lot of children who grow up in rough neighbourhoods and are considered at-risk kids spent a lot of their time trying to survive. A lot of what they do, or don’t do is in reaction to the situations around them-situations that are stressful. They use often dangerous and self-destructive means to survive and to take away the pain.

Numerous studies have shown that the use of music can change the amount of stress hormones that are released into the body. In the words of Norman Weinberger “…different studies showed music greatly reduced the levels and duration of cortisol responses to stress.”

What this means in layman’s terms is that music is a healer and there are many benefits of music therapy.

Benefits of music therapy:

  • It can help a child develop their communication skills

  • It helps promote concentration and listening skills

  • Helps children find better ways of expressing their feelings creatively and constructively.

  • It can help parents and families understand the growing needs of the children

  • It is used to provide emotional support for children when they are hospitalised.

  • It can help facilitate the development of a child’s social skills, trust and positive attachment to their parents.

Research conducted in Finland found that through music therapy, many of their patients who suffered from depression and anxiety had improved their symptom management. Music has the ability to change how the brain functions in response to stress and impact the effects of stress. Music therapy works because it taps into the part of our brain that is older and developed earlier (as babies and young children) and reaches our emotional centres in our brain.

What makes MT so great?

It is a kind of therapy that is non-threatening and welcoming. MT allows one to explore deeper feelings, behaviours and issues surrounding emotional dysregulation. Going deeper still, MT can be individually designed to help individuals deal with grief, loss, abandonment and other issues.

The nature of MT allows it to reach across the stages of a child’s development and well as helping adults develop relationships with their child through play and engaging in music. All children respond to music due to their in-born interest in it and it stimulates their motor and neuron centres, making it more fun and laying the foundation for other therapeutic mediums to be used at a later stage if necessary.

Music therapy is for everyone. What is great about is that you don’t necessarily need to go to a psychologist to reap its benefits. If you find yourself at home feeling stressed or moody, you can simply listening and playing music can help change this.

Post #2:

The magic of “Musical Medicine” will come into its own. The application of such healing potencies will not be limited just to man’s body and mind. It will be an agency for building and healing his soul as well.” Corinne Heline(1882-1975)

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The Man Behind The Mask - Child Abusers

But he’s normal” and “he doesn’t look the type” are a few of the reactions that people have when someone they know is arrested on child abuse claims and allegations.

Over the last few years, many a story have been published in the media that have left us shocked at the allegations of child abuse, paedophilia and other heinous acts committed against children by famous and respectable individuals.

  • Michael Jackson was accused of child sexual abuse in 1993, the victim the son of a close friend.

  • Renowned director Woody Allen was accused of sexual impropriety by his adopted daughter when she was seven years old.

  • For more than a decade allegations against everyone’s favourite TV dad Bill Cosby have been laid against him. In 2014, more than 30 women came up and spoke about his victimisation of them, dating back to events that took place in 1969.

  • Filmmaker Roman Polanski was arrested and charged for sexually assaulting a 13-year old girl in 1977.

These are but a few examples of individuals that one would never expect or believe to be perpetrators of child abuse.

What this shows is that sexual offenders and abusers cannot be picked out in a crowd. Contrary to popular belief, abusers are normal and don not fit a specific “mould”. Child abuse is mostly committed by men, women, and teenagers (statistics indicate that more than a third of those who engage in sexual activity with children are under the age of 18 themselves), other children, our neighbours, and friends and in some instances religious leaders. They are from all walks of life. Research shows that victims are known to the abuser and there is often a close relationship that is taken advantage of.

Who are the (wo)men behind the masks?

The majority of sexual abuse is committed by makes but research suggests that women could be responsible for almost 5% of sexual offences committed against children. Both men and women commit physical abuse, emotional abuse and neglect- this is oftentimes dependent on which parent/caregiver spends the most time with the child.

Child abuse often takes place in the home with someone the child knows and not a stranger.

Researchers identify three models to explain abuser-victim relationships:

  • Inappropriate relationships- here, an older abuser uses the physical, emotional or financial power over the victim and the victim lives believing that they have a sincere relationship with the abuser.

  • The “boyfriend” model- a conventional relationship exists which involves normal dating activities. However, the abuser often manipulates the victim into performing sexual acts with others (often seen in peer abuse)

  • Organised exploitation and trafficking- children are abused by more than one adult in a network that may involve trafficking victims across countries.

It is a sad reality that we have to look deeper into the various relationships and interactions our children have- even with those we trust. Paranoia and panic are not the best responses to have. But because the abuser does not come dressed as a monster but instead as a wolf in sheep’s clothing, it is imperative that we equip ourselves with the knowledge and information of what signs to looks for, what questions to ask and what we can all do to prevent this becoming an even greater epidemic than it already is.

Nelly Kgoabi

What Is Music Therapy?

“Music is what feelings sound like”. Music has been and is a form of expression for a lot of people, it’s a universal language that makes the world go round. Music also brings people together- creating unity, bringing wholeness and filling the space that words cannot.

music therapy

In South Africa, we are blessed with a rich and diverse cultural background where music forms a big part of the traditions, rituals and everyday life. There are songs of survival that speaks to a nation and, when we feel “happy” we know what type of music to listen to that suits the mood or lift the cloud of a sad feeling, and at times in of mourning, there is music to turn to that helps express that emotion. While we may know about the power of music, music as therapy is a relatively untapped medium used in therapeutic mediums.

What is music therapy?

The American Music Therapy Association defines it as “the prescribed use of music by a qualified person to effect positive changes in the psychological, physical, cognitive, or social functioning of individuals with health or educational problems". Music is used to ease the body through various stages of rehabilitation of various human conditions. It’s the skilful combination of science and art coming together in a safe environment to achieve its purpose.

Music therapy can be used in medical, educational environments to address emotional, cognitive, spiritual and social needs of individuals, groups and communities. Together with a therapist, sessions are designed to help individuals learn how to cope more effectively with their lives and the challenges they face.

Music therapy sessions can be tailored according to the need of the client but can help:

  • Manage stress

  • Express feelings

  • Improve communication

  • Aid with physical rehabilitation

  • Enhance memory

Just as other forms of therapy are designed to work and follow a specific approach, music therapy is different in that it’s done with the client and not to the client. And how does it work? Because our bodies have a natural, albeit passive response to music and, according to scientists, the musically in tuned part of our brain is closely linked to the part of the brain that controls our emotions. It works because it stimulates the entire brain and transcends through the barriers we have, bringing healing.

Studies are still underway to understand exactly how it works- all we know for sure is that it does work. “One good thing about music is that when it hits you, you feel no pain”. Let the music play.

Post #2:

“Music is a great healer.” ― Lailah Gifty Akita


Why Does Abuse Happen?

For many of us, when we read of horrific encounters of crimes committed against children, we cannot understand why anyone would want to hurt to child or begin to comprehend the circumstances that would lead to child abuse-of any kind.

Child abuse is a world-wide issue affecting children of all races, backgrounds, creeds and social status. The type of abuse suffered by children also stretches across the board.

Unfortunately there is no single factor that can be attributed to child abuse, but there the reasons behind abuse are wide-ranging and complex. In many families, there is a combination of factors that contribute to neglect and abuse, especially where parents/caregivers are under pressure or there is a lack of support.

In South Africa, we have a history of a country marred by violence- this over a long period of time and having severe psychological impacts which some of the results are being seen.

Some of the reasons proposed to try explaining why abuse happens are:

  • The violent background has created a society that accepts and condones acts of violence and force against women and children.

  • With this are a generation that believes that children should be seen not heard and therefore their cries for help and attempts at speaking out and reporting abuse fall on deaf ears.

  • The acceptance of physical punishment of children

  • Inequality between men and women

  • The belief that parents “own” their children and so have a right to treat them as they see fit

These are just some beliefs researchers have proposed. However, not all families who experienced the violent history abuse their children. Other factors also come into play such as:

  • Poverty

  • Biological predisposition (where help, therapy and support is not given, children who grow up abused and neglected may become psychologically and biologically predisposed to abuse their own children)

  • Lack of/poor education

  • Lack of support from family

  • Violence in the home between family members

  • Unemployment

Where sexual abuse takes place, some abusers, it is believed, may never abuse a child unless they have willingness and an opportunity to act on their desires. They often convince themselves that the abuse is not harmful; children are resilient and will get over it and in some extreme cases, that the victim wants the sexual contact. There is certain to be some mental deviation in their beliefs for what is normal, right and acceptable.

Despite this, many still believe that there still remains no excuse for abuse to happen and that those guilty of such crimes should be punished.

Abuse is not something we should simply settle for as the norm. It is also perhaps true that when you know better, you do better. And for those who have known no other way, it falls on us to educate, help carry the burdens and lend support to those in our families and communities.

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