Title page for ETD etd-02232005-111615

Document Type Master's Dissertation
Author Lotter, Carol Barbara
URN etd-02232005-111615
Document Title Circles of Courage : music therapy with adolescents in conflict with the law at a community based setting
Degree MMus (Music Therapy)
Department Music
Advisor Name Title
Ms A Prinsloo
Prof M Pavlicevic Supervisor
  • social re-integration
  • youth at risk
  • adolescents in conflict with the law
  • circle of courage
  • Community Youth Development
  • Adolescent Development Programme (ADP)
  • National Youth Development Outreach (YDO)
  • social context
  • improvisational music therapy
  • community music therapy
Date 2003-12-01
Availability unrestricted
The context for this study is a community based organization known as the National Youth Development Outreach (YDO) in Eersterust, Pretoria. This organization caters primarily for adolescents who are in conflict with the law who have been referred to YDO by the courts. YDO offers what is known as the Adolescent Development Programme as a means of social rehabilitation. This programme is based on what is known as the Circle of Courage which has its origins in the Native American approach to child rearing. This Circle of Courage has four components, namely, Belonging, Mastery, Independence and Generosity.

Music therapy was introduced at the National Youth development Outreach in January 2003. My interest in the work of music therapy within this context gave rise to this dissertation. My aim in this study is to explore how music therapy can contribute to the Adolescent Development Programme and, in particular, how the Circle of Courage can inform the goals and practice of music therapy. In addition I wish to explore how music therapy practice needs to adapt in order to be relevant within such a context.

The study is conducted within the qualitative research paradigm and thus seeks not to prove one single truth. This explorative study is conducted in a naturalistic setting. Data collection is in the form of a semi structured interview with 3 personnel members from the organization, clinical session notes and video recorded excerpts from two music therapy sessions.

The clinical session notes form the basis of a description of the music therapy process at YDO from January to June 2003 and work with an individual client. These descriptions serve to contextualize the semi structured interview and video excerpts. The data are coded categorized and organized into themes. These themes highlight the social context in which YDO is situated which includes the individual, the organization and the community. The data highlights the primacy of the Circle of Courage within this specific context. Music as a tool for communication as well as a barometer of relationship is also discussed.

This forms the basis for addressing the two research questions. This discussion focuses on the role of the Circle of Courage in informing the goals of music therapy through considering this at a conceptual level as well as viewing clinical improvisation through the lens of the Circle of Courage. The response to the second research question is from the premise of community therapy and considers the possibility of a wider application of music therapy in such a context.

Music therapy is in its infancy in South Africa, especially with this client group. I am unaware of any published literature of music therapy work with adolescents in conflict with the law. Whilst this study has focused on a very small part of the whole, my hope is that it will stimulate further thinking and research about music therapy with this client group and will contribute to a broader body of knowledge.

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