Jamie was 7 years old at the time of his referral to music therapy and had suffered a serious medical condition throughout his life. He was an angry little boy and was often disruptive and aggressive at home and school.
From the start of therapy, Jamie seemed to favour loud instruments such as the drums. His playing as the sessions progressed became increasingly angry and aggressive. The therapist supported his musical expressions with her own encouraging him to play how he felt and allowing him to explore and express these difficult emotions.
As the relationship continued to grow and Jamie started to feel increasingly safe in the sessions, he started to explore other instruments. He regularly dismantled the wooden xylophone, taking off all the bars and placing them inside the instrument. He would then asked the therapist to fix it. The therapist felt that this was a direct correlation with his medical condition where he perhaps saw himself as broken and needed someone to fix him.
This play led into more improvised music. Jamie started to direct the therapist how to play. One week he sang the word ‘Scary’ which the therapist picked up on and reflected back to him. The week after this, Jamie once again asked for his scary music. Music seemed to be allowing him to explore, express and share his inner feelings about his medical condition, his ongoing treatment and his fears for the future.
With the support of the therapist Jamie seemed to able to direct his anger and aggression into his music. He was also finding the space to explore and express his inner feelings of fear through a safe, largely non-verbal musical relationship.