Barbara's story

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Fri, 18/1/2019

“When I have bad memories, I play musical instruments. Then all the bad memories go into the instruments and I don’t have them inside me anymore.”

Eight-year-old Barbara became depressed at the age of four, when she was taken into care, and separated from her siblings who were put up for adoption. Since being referred by her teacher in 2017, she has been taking part in weekly music therapy sessions with Anna, along with her foster parent, to help improve her low mood.

Music therapist Anna talks about her work with Barbara:

“Barbara learns the trumpet at school and is very interested in music. Her musicality and interest was evident in our earliest sessions when she sang in tune and explored different instruments. Barbara’s confidence in interacting with the music alongside me and her carer has grown as the weeks have progressed.

"Recently, I suggested that we try writing a song together and Barbara chose to write about her ‘best Christmas present ever.’ Barbara said afterwards: ‘writing my own song was really good, because it included my fourth Christmas in care.’ This was a significant milestone for her, since it meant she had celebrated as many Christmases with her foster carers as she has done with her birth family.”

Not only do the weekly sessions provide an opportunity for Barbara’s expression and playfulness to shine through, they also create a space where Barbara’s relationship with her foster carer can be strengthened by making music together. Her carer said that music therapy had positively impacted Barbara’s wellbeing saying:

“Barbara has periods of low mood which disappear every Friday as she attends the session. She talks excitedly about music therapy throughout the week and always looks forward to the session. I love the fact that I get to be involved… It has been great to see Barbara smiling!”