Group Music Therapy with Unaccompanied Refugee Minors in the Camp’s ‘Safe Zone’

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Mitsi Akoyunoglou

This presentation will follow a group music therapy intervention for unaccompanied minors residing in the ‘safe zone’ area of a transit refugee camp. The study investigated the prospect of the intervention as psychosocial support. The goals focused on self-regulation, coping skills, self-identity and group cohesion. Data collected from initial individual interviews, the Interest in Music scale, detailed observations from 8 hourly music therapy sessions and a focus group at the end of the intervention were analyzed and the themes that emerged as well as challenges faced will be discussed. This project was funded by the International Organization for Migration.

Presentation Description:

In the form of an “interactive” lecture, detailed information will be given on ways to deal with legal, bureaucratic issues as well as authorities to get access to enter a “hotspot” refugee camp, difficulties working with unaccompanied minors, benefits in pairing with a clinical psychologist as a co-therapist and the need for a reflexive adaptation process for both therapists. 

Learner Objectives:

  • Participants will understand the need for safety in developing and implementing MT intervention within a transit refugee camp (maintain awareness of location and potential risks of harm at all times)
  • Participants will be informed of an assessment procedure for refugee minors (individual interviews, IiM scale)
  • Participants will be able to identify ways to create an environment / space to engage refugee minors’ group (within a transit refugee camp)
  • Participants will be informed on how to structure music therapy experiences that can address specific goals for unaccompanied teenagers

Target Audience:

Students, Entry-level professionals , Experienced professionals 

Presenter Biography:

Mitsi Akoyunoglou, PhD, BMT, MMT completed a post-doctoral research at Ionian University where she teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in Music Pedagogy and Psychology of Music. She is currently the representative of the Hellenic Association of Certified Professional Music Therapists to EMTC. Her research focuses on the traditional lament, bereavement, refugee children, all-inclusive classrooms, and UDL.