Use of traditional and nontraditional instruments with traumatized children in bethlehem, West Bank

Gene Ann Behrens, Elizabethtown College


The use of traditional versus nontraditional instruments is an important decision to consider when working with clients from different cultures, especially when traveling to work as a music therapist in another country. The purpose of this paper is to share personal experiences and the information gathered while preparing for and working with children traumatized by the ongoing conflict (Thabet, Abed, & Vostanis, 2002) in Bethlehem within the West Bank of the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). In deciding to incorporate traditional and nontraditional instruments, the author discusses the differential use of these instruments while simultaneously presenting theories on multicultural counseling that support their use. In addition, the author discusses how an analysis of session transcripts supports observations that the children tended to play traditional instruments using a traditional pattern and to play nontraditional instruments using other rhythmic, creative improvisations that facilitated emotional expression.© 2012, by the American Music Therapy Association.