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Neuro rehab therapies

Chroma launches new pilot project in school



Arts therapy provider Chroma, which works extensively in the neuro-rehab field delivering neurologic music therapy (NMT), has begun a new pilot project in a school, supporting  pupils’ social, emotional and mental health needs.

Chroma, an “Outstanding” Ofsted registered provider of arts therapies, has begun a pilot therapeutic music project focused around drumming at Marland School, in North Devon.

Marland has four sites, one of which is residential. Chroma is delivering therapeutic music sessions (group and 1:1) one day a week at each site over the next year as part of a pilot scheme to see how the students benefit.

Marland staff work closely with Chroma colleagues to dynamically adapt the delivery to suit the individual / personalised needs of the students wherever feasible.

Currently, Chroma therapists are seeing approximately 65 students in total, each week, aged 8-16 years of age.

Chroma is using a model of music therapy primarily focused on drumming, and building on the work of Andreas Wolfi and his DrumPower approach, looking at affect regulation, resolution and conflict, working together, teamwork, social interaction skills (through verbal and non-verbal communication) to help build and ground students in their class groups and provide them with opportunities to explore and create a cohesive network between themselves.

Using djembe drums, Chroma music therapists use a variety of structured activities that focus on establishing group beats and collaboration, such as passing individual rhythms, maintaining a group pulse, increasing and decreasing volume and tempo of play; all to instill a sense of belonging, coherence and value in the group.

The group sessions are primarily focused on social integration, affect regulation and building self-esteem. Establishing group rhythms and beats is essential for this.

Music therapist Lucy Collings Pettit, from Chroma, said: At this early stage, our primary focus in group work is establishing a sense of safety and belonging within a group context, with peers, working with group cohesion.

“When we have achieved that foundation, we plan to work more towards exploration of feelings of aggression and conflict, working towards relational repair, with more opportunities for reflection.”

Adele Bird added: Students at Marland can find working collaboratively with their peers challenging, and for some, this can heighten their anxieties further”.

The long term aims of the group sessions are therefore; to develop cohesion, for students to attend consistently, to engage positively and to be able to experience and develop regulation through all of those processes.

Teaching staff are encouraged to attend and participate in sessions, giving them an opportunity to see their students in a different context, allowing for opportunities for them to connect positively with students outside of the classroom environment.

Marland School is a part of the SENtient Trust, the trust which includes Barley Lane, Ellen Tinkham, Pathfield and Lampard schools – all of which have an arts therapies service implemented within their curriculum, provided solely by Chroma.

Keith Bennett, Executive Principal at Marland School added, We wanted to enhance the curriculum in a holistic sense rather than a clinical service delivery.

“This pilot allows us to see any benefits to our students lives before committing to adding a new additional therapeutic approach within our curriculum.

“Hearing about the benefits for students at Barley Lane, Ellen Tinkham, Pathfield and Lampard schools, we are hopeful that this initiative will benefit our students greatly and look forward to the review at the end of the school year.”

Evaluation of this pilot at the end of this school year will determine the future of therapeutic music sessions at Marland School.