Music Therapy

Karen de Kock

Music Therapist

084 792 7865

Music Therapy is the therapeutic application and use of music with people of all ages living with a range of conditions, which may have a psychological, physical and/or neurological basis.

In all instances, the use of music is clinically informed and involves a variety of techniques that include improvisation, playing of instruments, vocalisation and music listening.

Why Music Therapy?

Music Therapists recognise that there is an innate responsiveness to music in all human beings and that we all respond to rhythm, melody and harmony, regardless of physical or mental disability, injury or illness.

Music Therapists work with this innate “musical person” accessible within each client.

Who is Music Therapy for:

Music Therapists work with both individuals and groups, and clients do NOT need to have had previous musical experience or any learned musical skills to participate.

At Vista Clinic, Music Therapy sessions are offered in groups and include the following:


Each patient receives a West African Djembe drum. The Drum

Circle becomes a creative space and symbol of wholeness, inclusivity and community.
Benefits include:

  • Opportunities for self-expression. Anger and frustration can be expressed in a contained space
  • Improves quality of life through sense of inclusion, breaking isolation
  • Stimulating motor co-ordination skills
  • Integration of auditory, visual and kinaesthetic stimulation
  • Improved confidence and self esteem
  • Improved social skills through sharing, giving and receiving
  • Combined emotional, intellectual and physical stimulation
  • Connects people from all walks of life
  • Overall sense of enjoyment

Guided Imagery and Music (GIM):

Patients are invited to go on an inner journey through the use of sound and imagery. This includes a progressive relaxation and visualisation where patients are guided into a natural setting e.g. walking in a forest, next to a river, in a garden. Carefully selected pre-recorded music may be used or a variety of instruments may be played live by the therapist, to enhance the experience.

The journey includes singing of songs that strengthen the experience.

Patients are carefully guided back into their current surroundings and are offered an opportunity to integrate the experience through verbal processing.
Benefits include:

  • Provide opportunities for self-exploration
  • Develop contact, understanding and acceptance of emotions and feelings
  • Provide a framework to allow for the experience and expression of different emotions
  • Improve quality of life through the experience of sharing, giving and receiving
  • Improve awareness of situations and the environment
  • Relaxation

Training in Music Therapy:

Training in Music Therapy in South Africa is offered at the University of Pretoria only.

Training involves enrolling in a 2 year Full- time Masters Programme with Dissertation, at the University.

A pre requisite for the Masters programme is an Honours Degree in Music, Psychology, Social Work or a related discipline.

The Masters Programme requires 1500 hours practical work under supervision, in clinical settings of which one year is devoted entirely to a state psychiatric hospital.

Successful candidates graduate with a Masters in Music Therapy and are then registered with the HPCSA.

What do patients at Vista Clinic have to say about Music Therapy?

“I was calm as I was not for a long time in my life, it was as if I was facing myself in a peaceful environment”

“It helps people to open up and realise important aspects that affect their emotions and behaviour.”

“It made me feel safe to let go and to start the healing process”

“I felt like a new person, so relaxed and refreshed. Hearing people sharing their stories, made me realise that some people are going through difficulties more than I”

“I enjoyed the sessions and I will recommend it for everyone who wants to take the journey of her life and deal with hidden issues in their lives.”

“I love that people get to express themselves without being judged and that everything is kept secret in this space. Thank you so much! Now I know what is holding me back”.


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