All inpatients at Four Winds Hospital partake in Music and Theatre Arts Therapy. Andrew Tepper, LMSW, the director of Music and Theatre Arts Therapy, conducts psychotherapy through music production.
Patients visit the music room, which is equipped with eight iMac computers that are linked to GarageBand music production software. Patients are given the opportunity to listen to songs to create musical tracks. Individuals write songs with the help of templates that guide them to experience Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) skills and to describe how they could use those skills in real-life situations. The ultimate goal is to record a personal song on a CD, which patients are given upon discharge.
The DBT templates are a way to get the patient to access the DBT skill through a music experience without forcing them to complete a “writing assignment.” Andrew helps the patients cognitively reframe their past experiences and to record how they can see themselves masterfully using a skill in the future. Andrew says, “The arts are an excellent way to reach patients who don’t respond to traditional forms of therapy, or to engage [individuals] who have turned a deaf ear to professionals.”
In the theatre group, patients participate in short-form theatrical games while practicing decision-making skills, appropriateness and positive coping skills.