Exploring open music therapy groups with refugee children as psycho-social support

Mitsi Akoyunoglou-Christou, PhD, RMT

During the refugee journey, children are the most vulnerable, facing a range of social, emotional, psychological and cultural challenges. More than 150.000 refugees (Jan. 2105 – Jun. 2016) have crossed to Chios Island from the neighboring coasts of Turkey. Open music therapy groups, run by a music therapist and a number of volunteers, were held for a year in refugee camps, with children aged 2 to 17, in groups of 10 to 90. From the analysis of the researcher’s notes, volunteers’ journals, photos and videos, the effectiveness of the intervention was apparent, as a psycho-socio-emotional first aid for refugee children.

This presentation, in a form of a talk, will include a number of photos as well as video examples of art and music therapy groups with refugee children along a period of 1 year, in transit refugee camps in Chios Island, Greece, a first port of entry for over 150.000 refugees within 2015 – 2016. A model of psycho-socio-emotional support for refugee children through art and music will be presented and analyzed.

  1. Treatment Planning – Create environment or space conducive to client engagement.
  2. Treatment Planning – consider client’s age, culture, language, music background, and preferences when designing music therapy experiences.
  3. Treatment Planning – Select and adapt musical instruments and equipment consistent with treatment needs.
  4. Implementation – Develop a therapeutic relationship by building trust and rapport.
  5. Implementation – Provide music therapy experiences to address client’s group cohesion and/or feeling of group membership.

Mitsi Akoyunoglou-Christou, PhD, RMT received her BA and MM in Music Therapy from Michigan State University, attended the neurologic MT training in 2009 in London, and received her PhD in musical sciences/MT in 2014 from Ionian University, Corfu, Greece. She has been a music therapist and a piano professor for over 25 years.

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