Integrating Music Therapy to Talwar’s Art Therapy Trauma Protocol (ATTP): A Renewed Challenge

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Professor Şükrü Torun MD-PhD, Anadolu University Faculty of Health Sciences, Dept. of Speech & Language Therapy, Head Cognitive Neuroscience & Neurologic Music Therapy Unit, Eskişehir (Turkey)

Aslı Özyıldız, MA, Molimo Art and Counseling, İzmir (Turkey), Psychologist, Family Counselor Music Therapy Trainee in Atelier de Musicothérapie de Bourgogne, Dijon (France), and Centro Italiano Studi Arte Terapia, Naples (Italy)

In the past few months, Turkey is once again evolving through troubled times/waters and it would not be exaggerated to mention the presence of a severe social and collective trauma affecting almost the whole population. In this context, we have organized individual and group sessions likely to approach the potentially traumatic experiences with alternative ways. As a reminder, art therapy in general and more specifically music therapy are still “brand new” therapeutic techniques in Turkey, requiring further investigation and discovery.

One of the proposition we have made during these sessions was to work with a freely adapted version of the Art Therapy Trauma Protocol of Talwar (2007). The idea of adaptation had also been motivated after several readings including works of Malchiodi or Torun, among others, which put a special accent on the effect of musical elements on different brain areas.

During the adapted exercise, the client is “constrained” to use, in a predetermined order, dominant and non dominant hand while drawing/painting the accessible elements of the traumatic experience, but also while writing his/her related emotions and while expressing them on available music instruments. Meanwhile, movement (especially walking) is included to the whole process, in order to “encourage dual processing or bilateral stimulation” (Talwar, 2007: 28) likely to help resolving the split occured between the left frontal cortex and the right hemisphere. The overall goal is to offer the client multi-modal choices of expression which may contribute to restore the cohesion and the integration of different brain functions.

The outcome measures of these experiments remain limited, for the moment, to the feedback we get from the clients, within the framework of our practice which is undoubtedly psychodynamically oriented. To complete and verify our findings, we are hoping to concretise a collaboration project with the Department of Neurologic Music Therapy of Anadolu University in Eskişehir.

Learner Objectives:

  1. Participants will be informed about one of the integration possibilities of music therapeutic elements into an extramusical tool (CBMT Scope of Practice: I.C.4, 12)
  2. Participants will identity the purpose of movement/music combination while working on traumatic experiences (CBMT Scope of Practice: II.A.5, i)
  3. Participants will identify the neorological aspects that underlie the investigation (CBMT Scope of Practice: II.A.3, f)