Volume 2 (2) 2010 – Article
Faith and Music: A Personal Exploration of the Implication of Religious Faith in Music Therapy, within an Intercultural, Group Music-Making Context
Bethan Lee Shrubsole
In July 2008 Music for Peaceful Minds (MPM), a peripatetic music therapy service in post-conflict northern Uganda, was established. To date, MPM serves four schools and two orphanages with a specially-trained peripatetic Ugandan music counsellor. Weekly music therapy groups are run, each consisting of six children, referred by orphanage or school staff. The mixed- and single sex- groups run for a term (10-12 weeks). They are split into age ranges of 4-11 and 12-18.
This is a clinical discussion drawing on my personal experience as a music therapist in Uganda in 2008. It is not intended to be a theoretical or research paper and as such does not contain a thorough literature review. I will be considering various religious aspects of an English therapist working in northern Uganda, focusing on the music that was made in sessions. I will discuss the questions of how important it is for a therapist to have a shared culture, faith or musical background with her clients, and how a language barrier can affect the therapy.
Keywords: conflict, culture, religion, music, therapy, post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma.
Bethan Lee Shrubsole has been interested in how music therapy can help people affected by war and conflict since she visited Kosovo in 2000. Her interest led her to northern Uganda where she saw a need for rehabilitative therapy for whole communities traumatised by war. She trained as a music therapist at Anglia Ruskin University, graduating in 2008. In July 2008 she founded the community-based organisation Music for Peaceful Minds, which has offered music therapy to over two hundred children in mainstream and special needs schools and orphanages in Gulu, northern Uganda.