ARTICLE COURTESY OF ABC27 | FEATURE STORY | OCTOBER 2015
Music therapy takes off in Central Pa.
More Midstate facilities say they're looking to music therapy programs as ways to treat their patients. WB Music Therapy say this trend is keeping its practice busy. Patients took part in a music gathering over the weekend at Salem Lutheran Church to showcase their progress. They sang, played instruments, and demonstrated what they've learned in their sessions to their loved ones.
Two of those performers were young Hannah and Ruth Bohner, who donned Elsa and Anna costumes as they sang a medley of songs from the popular movie, "Frozen".
"The girls kind of have the invisible disability because they have extreme anxiety," their mother, Vanessa Bohner said. "Ruth was in a concert in November and she worked herself up so sick she had a fever of over 102 degrees. Her anxiety paralyzes her. So they've worked on this song for over four months just to get to this point," Bohner continued. " Seeing her standing up there just standing on stage was a huge success."
Hannah and Ruth have a brother named Steven, who has autism. The three siblings particiate in WB Music Therapy sessions together. They're a few of several patients who work with board-certified music therapists Kristyn Beeman and Melanie Walborn.
"Steven invited Hannah to play legos with him because Kristyn had done the song with him about working together," Vanessa Bohner said. "And that might seem like a small thing, but for a boy that would try to strangle her and push her and throw her into the wall, and he's now saying, 'Come join my world because we now have this common bond.'That's a miracle that as a mom you just can't really put into words."
Many of the songs Beeman and Walborn use have practical purposes — they serve as reminders and teach life lessons. Others are mean to help patients stay calm and focused, or improve motor skills.
"Music therapy is really trying to achieve a nonmusical goal by using music," Beeman said. "I'll be honest, during this performance I had to choke back tears many times. Just thinking about where we were and where we are today is amazing." "We should presume everyone has potential and we should not look down upon them because they weren't gifted the ways to communicate that many people have or the way to walk or the way to think that you might think is the right way," Walborn said. "We can accept them for who they are and not try to change who they are. Everyone deserves respect." Anyone who is interested in contacted WB Music Therapy can visit the following website: www.wbmusictherapy.com