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Improve mental health and wellbeing

Arts therapies are therapeutic interventions similar to counselling or psychotherapy that aim to improve mental health and wellbeing. They use music, drama or dance as the means of communication. They can be particularly beneficial for adolescents, young children with communication difficulties, people on the autistic spectrum, people with dementia and in whole-family therapy.

We run one of the largest teams of music and drama therapists in the country working with children and adults across Cambridgeshire in special and mainstream schools, specialist units, children’s centres and our own clinics in Huntingdon and Cambridge. We provide specialist programmes to support transition and change, into and between school, college, home, hospital and class.

Our therapists work with individuals or groups. Sessions are provided weekly for between 30 and 45 minutes with additional time for the therapist to keep clinical notes and liaise with other professionals and family as required. Therapists assess need, design the programme and provide parent and staff support and liaison. They contribute to professional consultation and report writing for assessment and review processes and manage discharge processes at the end of the therapy.

We work with parents, carers and professionals to share skills and support consistency and follow-up outside sessions. We also provide consultations and support for school engagement and mental health issues in schools, including models of attachment and systemic work.

Music therapy sessions focus on communication using sound created with instruments and voice. Using non-linguistic methods to communicate is often helpful for those with limited verbal expression, mental health issues or behavioural problems.

Drama therapy enables an approach to developing communication and interaction using storytelling, role play, games and improvisation.

Arts therapies support any, or all, of the following:


Improved self-expression and communication
Building confidence and self esteem
Decreased tension, anxiety and challenging behaviour
Enhanced awareness of self and others
Improved social skills such as listening, turntaking and sharing
Better co-ordination and movement
Improved focus and concentration
Reduced behavioural issues
Increase ability to participate and engage with education curriculum and school life
Improved education progression

Arts Therapies and EHC Plans

Education Health & Care Plans have replaced the statements of SEN and learning difficulties assessments. This has resulted in a number of questions in relation to arts therapies, particularly in transition from early years to primary education and for existing provision which may be reassessed.

All arts therapies can be considered for inclusion in an EHC Plan. (If you hear otherwise please tell us!) However the assessment process will look closely at the most appropriate interventions to achieve the EHC needs that are identified. Therefore it is important that families who wish to consider arts therapies or already have them and would like them to continue following review ensure that good evidence of the impact and benefits to the child are communicated clearly through reports and at meetings. The best evidence will be a mixture of those showing communication, behaviour or education outcomes through "hard" data alongside qualitative measurement of impact through reflection and review of interactions.

Existing therapists working with a child should be contacted when there is a needs assessment meeting being planned.


£49 per hour (raising to £51 per hour from 1 April 2019), which includes:

Fully qualified employed therapists who are state registered and members of the British Association of Music Therapists or Drama Therapists, the Health and Care Professions Council and who have relevant Disclosure and Barring checks (DBS).
Therapists may also have additional training including Attachment, Systemic, Mental Health, VIG, Counselling, Consultancy, Risk Assessment and Fundraising.
Ongoing clinical supervision to support therapists' work.
Set up, session time, note writing, liaison and report writing.
Online support for client accounts.

You provide

A suitable therapeutic space for the session. This should be an undisturbed space which is available at the same time each week and where sound will not disturb others. In schools, a music room is ideal for music therapy.
Access to selection of instruments including piano, guitar and some tuned and untuned percussion instruments and some smaller instruments. We may be able to provide some small instruments as appropriate.
An identified contact/liaison person in your organisation

Help with funding

Funding may be available to support music therapy from the following sources - if you need help to source funding for a project or programme, please do talk to us:

Pupil Premium/Premium Plus school funding
Funding for children looked after by the authority
Social Care support
Early Learning
Support for Learning
Adoption Support Funds
Mental Health funding
Fostering and adoption services
Together for families
Alternative Education provision
Personal budgets

"In his playing he was able to tell me about this difficulties in communicating and how sad they made him."

Mary, music therapist working with dementia patient, Edward

"A 6-year-old boy recently said his first word in a music therapy session. It was so exciting."

Orla Casey, Head of Music Therapy, Cambridgeshire Music

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