“So many of our clients see themselves as broken," says Carolyn Neapole, one of the Dr. Peter Centre’s Music Therapists. “Society tells them that they are a disease, or a drug user, or a criminal, and it’s hard for them to step out of that identity to see a person of value.”
At the Dr. Peter Centre, we use music as a therapeutic tool to help people living with HIV work towards and achieve self-fulfillment and personal health goals. Carolyn explains: “Music doesn’t erase or magically fix problems but it does give people the chance to see something valuable inside and think about themselves as a creative person. This change in self-judgment can be a seed for larger changes in a person’s life.”
Music therapy at the Dr. Peter Centre can range from one-on-one sessions with therapeutic song writing with a focus on narrative construction and lyric examination, to group “jam sessions” with communal music-making and singing.
A Sense of Identity
Music allows our clients (who are often coping with mental health, addiction or trauma issues, in addition to HIV) to establish trusting relationships with our therapists. These therapeutic interactions help clients shift and expand their understanding of their own identities and the way in which they participate in their own lives. This, in turn, can help stimulate self-awareness, learning, self-expression, communication and personal development.
The Value of a Voice
Music therapy enables a wide range of outcomes, including reductions in client pain and anxiety, improved stress management, and enhanced feelings of control, confidence and empowerment. Putting that power to work in a health care setting can change lives by strengthening a person’s mental, physical and emotional health.
Music therapy encourages more consistent engagement in HIV treatment at the Dr. Peter Centre. HIV treatment is now globally accepted as a key HIV prevention tool. An HIV positive person on their prescribed medication can live a near normal lifespan, and is 96% less likely to transmit the disease.
You can support music therapy at the Dr. Peter Centre by making a donation and designating your gift to the music therapy program.