Rhythm2Recovery is an integrated model of practice that combines experiential rhythmic music with cognitive reflection and draws upon a number of well documented therapeutic approaches, that deliver positive psychological and physiological outcomes. These include research on the benefits of participatory music, the vast documentation that supports cognitive behavioural therapy, and more recent studies showcasing the benefits of acceptance and commitment therapy, positive psychology and mindfulness.
Evaluation and action based research have been integrated into the work we have done using rhythmic music and cognitive reflection since 2004. More recently the original model was extended to include new elements that included Positive Psychology, and Act and Commitment Therapy – incorporating the well documented benefits of these therapeutic approaches. Specific, independent research studies that focused on the first program derived from the combination of rhythm and reflection, DRUMBEAT, began in 2005 at a number of Australian government mental health institutions and across a range of schools. The first peer reviewed journal article appeared in The Australian Music Educators Journal in 2006 and since then there have been eight, peer reviewed, studies documented in Australian and International journals, with consistent findings of positive social and emotional change.
When we look to evidence for justifying the use of rhythmic music approaches in therapeutic practice there can be no stronger evidence than the fact that across thousands of years, almost all indigenous cultures gravitated to using this modality in their healing practices – these were the original psychotherapies. It is perhaps the greatest arrogance to dismiss this knowledge, and look only to the narrow parameters of scientific assessment. And important to to recognise too that much of the impact of music is not readily measurable by current scientific research methodologies
Throughout history rhythm has been used to embed learning. All of us remember using rhythmic processes for remembering factual information such as the number of days in the different months of the year, or our mathematical times-tables. We have also passed down social learning, ethics and values this way through traditional folk-songs, and nursery rhymes, and maintain this tradition in much of our popular music. Memories embedded rhythmically are amongst the most lasting. A visit to a dementia ward will reveal how after almost everything else is lost, musical memory remains. The Rhythm2Recovery model draws on this understanding to deeply embed social and emotional understanding through a flexible combination of rhythmic musical exercises and reflective discussions.