For the last year Circles of Rhythm has been offering a therapeutic drumming program at a local women’s shelter. The women are not obligated to attend, so at times there are only two participants. Even when two women show up we carry on and have a lovely evening. The circle in July was special because we had five women attend, some returning and some new ladies! A staff person is always present during these sessions, to be support, to witness and to be there in case of emotional crisis. On this particular circle it was this support person’s third drum session with me, so she had witnessed and grown accustomed to drumming, and could see that these circles were very beneficial for the women.
At the end of the session the following day I received this from her. With permission I am sharing this communication, she had sent this to her boss to speak about her experience in our drum circle:
I just have to let you know that drumming group last night was awesome! It was everything a group should be and more! We had 5 participants. I actually had to turn one lady away because she was a last minute sign up and we couldn’t accommodate anymore children in childcare.
The group was asked to choose 2 words to think about while drumming , something to discard in their lives and something they would like to receive in their lives. It was unanimous, the drumming themes were: “ getting rid of anger “ and “ bringing in the money”. Following that, each participant took a turn in being the “receiver”, in which one person sits in a chair and the rest of the group walks around them playing a drum or percussion instrument. The idea is to receive healing from the group. Afterwards each “receiver” spoke about what they felt. At the end of the drumming class a drum stick was placed in the middle of the floor and used as a “talking stick”. Each lady spoke about what they could do to bring more happiness into their lives. Finally we all stood in a circle , held hands and choose one word to describe how we were feeling, the words spoken were, “happy, good, and….. like skipping”.
I cannot stress enough the positive and healing energy in the room. I know each lady felt it because they expressed it verbally. The group went 5 minutes over and the ladies still were not ready to leave. They left on an emotional high and wanting more. I feel deeply that the participation last night is evidence that our ladies can and will share in a group setting. I know all of us are trying to educate the ladies to “buy in” on why we run groups as part of our program, how trauma affects the brain and how these groups can be incredibly healing and fun.
I also have to credit Jamie Gore our drumming group facilitator who demonstrated excellent skills in maintaining control and flow of the group throughout the evening. Jamie was very creative, flexible and shared on a personal level, which created a safe and fun environment for our ladies.”
Written by Jamie Gore