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Music as a Global Resource: - International Council for Caring ...

Music as a Global Resource: - International Council for Caring ...

Pestano, C. & Lissimore,

Pestano, C. & Lissimore, T. (2006). “Get Your Act Together: a short-term exploration of informal learning in schools” in Coll, H. & Finney, J. (Eds.) (2007). Ways Into Music, Making Every Child's Music Matter, ISBN 978-0-9505789-7-2. CONTACT INFORMATION: Organization: CRISP Address: Cornerstone House, 14 Willis Road, Croydon, CR0 2XX Contact Person: Catherine Pestano, Director Email: communitymusicservice@gmail.com 148

SECTION: Music for Working with Trauma Survivors COUNTRY: United Kingdom – Northern Ireland PROJECT: WORKING WITH SEVERELY DISTURBED AND TRAUMATIZED YOUNG MEN: A COMMUNITY PSYCHIATRIC PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The overall aim of the project is to bring a „musical listening‟ space to a group of very disturbed young males who are at risk of self-harm, many of whom have attempted suicide. While not a formal therapy group, the space provided for group members is essentially therapeutic, and one within which they are listened to non-judgmentally - where difficult feelings can be brought up and thought about. Sessions take place in the community within which they live. Group members live in an area of Belfast that has seen violent paramilitary activity. There is a complex post-conflict situation: peace may be agreed to politically, but in many people there is no inner peace. Ex-paramilitaries are still active in many communities. Families living in such circumstances experience difficulties in the areas of depression, self-medication (alcohol, prescription and street drugs), paranoia and psychosis. These issues can run through families across three generations. The focus is on traumatic musical material presented during therapy sessions. Through detailed observation of their musical improvisations, it is possible to make links between what happens musically and what takes place in their inner and outer worlds. Music offers a unique connection that can allow traumatic narrative to exist within a potentially creative context. Music has a special place in speaking directly to traumatic material at the level it occurs. Observations and thoughts about the nature of the music made by these young men are central to the project and are also the focus of the research. CURRENT STATUS: The grant for this project has now ended, as planned, after three years. The project exceeded the original expectations in terms of length of time and effectiveness. Perhaps most important of all, the group of participants grew in so many ways and in their last meetings they began to discuss how they could use their experiences to work in their community with young people who have experienced what they had gone through. This became a natural ending to the work. Since the project over the years has covered most of that community in one way and another, their influence from now on could be enormous. To be made 'redundant' in this way was perhaps the most wonderful outcome of the work. The project leaders have used the experiences with these severely disturbed young men to inform their ongoing work and thinking in a number of ways: speaking to others who work with such patients, disseminating the information via professional meetings/conference, advising groups and policy deciders. RESEARCH AND EVALUATION: There was a research component to the project, which explored the specific role of music with those traumatized and also evaluates the work as it took place. A detailed protocol has been developed documenting the content of sessions that will be of use to others working in this area, and there is great hope for an international, multi-site research study. The project has also resulted in two conference papers and two publications that outline different aspects of the work. 149

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