Time in Between: Music Therapy With Adolescent Girls in a Safehouse in Kingston, Jamaica


Lora F. Heller






Molloy College, a private liberal arts college in New York, founded by the Dominican sisters of Amityville, partnered with PRN (Physicians, Residents, Nurses) Relief International and the Dominican Sisters in Jamaica to organize a twice-annual service trip providing primary care, speech-language pathology, psychiatric-mental health care, and medical/surgical teams in rural and urban Jamaica. During the week-long trips, medical staff and speech pathologists move in teams from clinic to clinic, while mental health professionals, along with midwives and psychiatric nurses, work exclusively with the residents and staff at Homestead Place of Safety in Stony Hill, St. Andrew in the northern outskirts of Kingston, Jamaica. The state-operated facility, established as a home away from home, houses girls between the ages of 12 and 18 who experienced neglect or abuse, victimization, and sexual assault, or those in conflict with the law. Music Therapy services were included as part of the mental health team for the first time in October 2016 and provided an outlet for self-expression, an opportunity to foster resilience, a strengthened sense of community, and a supportive response to trauma. In past years, the mental health team found that the girls engaged freely in creative outlets such as art [therapy], and that music was an integral part of their culture and daily routine. Music therapy was therefore recommended to help normalize the therapeutic process, increase engagement, and develop therapeutic rapport.

Music and Health Institute Terms

Abuse; Child Abuse & Neglect; Engagement Level; Gender Disparities; Mental Health; Music Therapy; Youth

Indexed Terms

Girls; Mental health; Teams; Sex crimes; Jamaica

Study Type

Case Study; Qualitative Methods

Document Type