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Report for "Musical Therapy for the Mentally Ill"

This project was made possible through the support of ECOLOGIA's Baltic Mini-Grant Program.

August 2003

Participants: 13 patients of the mental centers: 6 men and 7 women; ages: 17 – 34.
Musical therapist: Viktorija Kukauskaite, violinist
Project coordinator: Polina Shediene, expert of social work
Place of project implementation: Cloister in Kaunas
Project implementation schedule:Musical therapy classes were conducted for three months, twice a week, three hours each class.

Tuesdays: 17.00 – 20.00: work in big group
Thursdays: 17.00 – 20.00: individual meetings or work in smaller groups.

Combined arts therapy classes :

April - May: Musical therapy + drawing
May - June: Musical therapy + dance
June - July: Musical therapy + literature

In April 2003, we wereable to purchase a musical center and collection of CDs. CDs were selected by musical therapist Viktorija Kukauskaite; these were mostly relaxation and classical music. During the first meeting group members completed a questionnaire (an example is attached). Questionnaires helped to identify their musical experience and expectations. Also we started a list of the participants’ favorite CDs, singers and musical compositions. During the project, the musical therapist purchased CDs according to the participants’ requests. These CDs are being given to the participants to listen at home if they wanted, and they had to bring them back for the next meeting. In order to make this project more alive, live violin music concerts were performed, and participants had a chance to try to play the violin. After the spring therapy course was completed, the musical therapist organized a farewell violin music concert in the cloister where relatives and friends of our participants and nuns were invited.

We think that the goal of the project – to apply musical therapy in order to help the mentally ill to recover faster – has been reached, because:

Project Development:

During the first three months of the project, musical therapy has been provided to the mentally ill patients. Starting in autumn 2003, we are planning to conduct musical therapy classes for people with different kinds of disability: for the young people who have intellectual (development) disorders and live in Kaunas’ boarding school for children and youth.

In order to increase the level of knowledge for the staff , the project coordinator translated teaching material from German language: “Musical therapy for the people with development disorders”. This material will be used as a manual for the staff directly involved in such projects.

The project coordinator has initiated a Day Center in Kaunas for people with mental disorders. A letter of agreement has been signed between Kaunas’ Municipality and CARITAS to confirm establishment of this Center.

Musical therapy became one more form of psycho-social support among those which are being implemented by CARITAS- Lithuania.

Below are the questions from the questionnaire administered before the Musical Therapy Program started, and answers from one of the participants.

Q: How important is the music in your life ?
A: Music for me is a source of composing , joy, and most important – a source of inspiration. Because of the music, one can dream and create.

Q: Have you ever participated in music therapy classes before ?
A.: I have never participated, and I’m looking forward to it.

Q: Musical therapy. What do you think it is? (can it be related to the health, feelings, experience) ?
A.: I think that musical therapy is related to the feelings, to the new approaches to the life and fulfillment of the dreams.

Q: What kind of music do you like the most ?
A.: I like classical music: when I listen to it I feel my spirits lift, and rock music revitalizes youthfulness, vitality and hope for the good future.

Q: What would you like to learn about music or related issues ?
A.: I would like to know more about the lives of some composers, and how some of the musical compositions have been created, who was the source of their inspiration.

Q: What do you expect from the musical therapy course ?
A.: I expect good, positive, joyful emotions. I hope to feel something new, new emotions that I do not think I have inside of me.

Q: What would be your recommendations for the musical therapy teacher ?
A.: I trust that this person is creative, has the skills and right approach to the work she is doing.

Comments: I wish our teacher good luck in working with different members of our group. I believe that her work will be interesting, it will give new emotions to us, and new experience to her.