Client J joined a group of late elementary school aged children struggling with various behavioral/emotional disorders. He started out the group with multiple conflicts with peers and was asked to leave the group with a staff member when he pushed one of his peers. However, when staff allowed him to return to the group, he chose to rejoin the group and sit closer to the music therapist. He chose a drum and slowly engaged in playing rhythms in tempo with his peers. He started to smile and stated “That was cool!” after he played a solo on the agogo bell with his peers playing supportive rhythms on their drums.
Later in the session, the client spoke up in a lyric discussion of “The Greatest” by Sia stating, “Doesn’t stamina mean to keep going?”. When the music therapist praised him and told him he was right, Client J stated, “I have stamina, because sometimes when I was getting bullied I would get really mad, but wouldn’t give up. And my mom thinks I’m the greatest, so I know I can participate better.” Multiple staff and the music therapist praised the client for his insight. In further sessions, he successfully ignored negative behaviors from his peers and needed fewer and fewer prompts to appropriately participate in the session. Client J also continued to provide his own insight into his treatment through lyric discussions and songwriting as he makes progress towards rejoining his previous school and classmates.