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“I have always been passionate about helping young people”

Music therapist

Therapeutic input provides a safe, confidential space to consider what experiences or challenges may be having an impact on your life and wellbeing. For foster carers, this can be a valuable way to unpick issues that might arise and offer another type of support.

Laurie is part of St Christopher’s therapeutic team, working with our fostering teams to ensure that our foster carers and the children they look after are well supported. Her background in music therapy brings a creative aspect to her role, as well as her understanding of what support foster carers need to provide the best possible care to the children they look after.

What is music therapy?

I’m a qualified music therapist, which is typically used to help people who can’t communicate verbally, either because they choose not to or don’t know where to begin. Together we improvise music on instruments and think about what they are trying to get across. It’s a good way to start conversation, especially when we do song writing sessions with young people. The beauty of it being non-verbal means you can come in, bang a drum for an hour and leave feeling a bit calmer!

How do you help foster carers and the children they look after?

I provide therapy sessions so foster carers can reflect on how they are doing, what they want to work on and their confidence. It’s an open and confidential discussion without judgement and is individual to their needs. Giving carers a safe space to speak to someone privately means they can be honest about how fostering is impacting them and we can give them the right support. I like supporting carers to reflect on the emotional and psychological needs of the young people that stem from their past experiences.

Music therapy can be helpful if foster carers and children are struggling to communicate with each other. When you are making music together everybody is equal, nobody is the boss and you can all create something together. It can help foster families to work through any difficulties so that their relationships stay intact and positive.

Has your support adapted during lockdown?

Delivering therapy online is always going to be a challenge as there is so much lost over the internet such as body language, facial gestures and the atmosphere in the room. But adapting has had its benefits too – using technology has made therapy more flexible and accessible as you don’t need to travel anywhere for appointments and can fit sessions around your day more easily.

What do you enjoy about the job?

Definitely the contact with so many different people. I have always been passionate about helping young people and have previously worked with adoptive families. Working with such a breadth of colleagues and foster carers at St Christopher’s who share the same interest and desire to help is great.

What have been your most rewarding experiences at St Christopher’s?

Working with the social workers who support our foster carers. I have helped them to set up a reflective practice group, which has established a tight bond within the team. They are really keen and enthusiastic about what therapy can offer to their foster families.

What are you looking forward to in 2021?

I can’t wait to meet more of our foster carers! I’m also setting up a group for girls living with foster families at St Christopher’s that aims to build social skills, friendship groups and confidence.

In the future I hope to do work with the biological children of foster carers too. They play a key role in foster families so it’s important to make sure their wellbeing is considered too.

If you would like to learn more about the support you’ll receive as a St Christopher’s foster carer, request a call back today.