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How Making Music Can Help Students Cope with Trauma

music582Studies about the Ten Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) have shown that most people have experienced one of these traumas in childhood, such as being abused, having a parent who is incarcerated, experiencing homelessness, among others. The trauma one experiences in childhood can affect adult mental and physical health in later years, especially if a person has multiple ACEs. While the harm can have lasting impacts, health professionals have identified ways to mitigate the effects by nurturing supportive relationships with adult caregivers.

Schools can also play a supportive role by helping kids who have experienced trauma. And at the High School for Recording Arts (HSRA) in St. Paul, Minnesota, making music is a means of healing.

…studies show art and music—known as expressive arts therapy—can calm the body’s stress response, which can help adolescents feel safer in the classroom.

“Writing lyrics feels safer than directly speaking about what she’s been through,” says Tabitha Wheeler, a social worker at the school describing a teen who composed a song about her psychological pain and childhood trauma.

It’s crucial for adolescents and young adults to receive mental health care and emotional support. However, teens aren’t always eager to speak about their suffering. But when it comes to treating the continuum of trauma, studies show art and music—known as expressive arts therapy—can calm the body’s stress response, which can help adolescents feel safer in the classroom.

Through the use of art, music and writing, teachers and faculty at HSRA rely on “creative pedagogical practices” to help students connect with their intellectual talents, which can foster academic confidence.

“We see full-on art and music engagement as tools for academic re-engagement,” said Joey Cienian, director of educational programming at HSRA.

Excerpted from “How Making Music Can Help Students Cope with Trauma” in KQED’s MindShift. Read the full article.

Source: MindShift | How Making Music Can Help Students Cope with Trauma, https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/53880/how-making-music-can-help-students-cope-with-trauma | © 2019 KQED INC

A screening can help you determine if you or someone you care about should contact a mental health professional. Care Coordinators can arrange a free 30 minute Care Consultation so you can explore options with an expert. Call or email our Care Coordinators at 650.688.3625 or careteam@chconline.org to set up an initial Consultation appointment.

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