Drums part of counselling

Carly LadenBroome Advertiser
Holyoake social enterprise manager Alan Beattie leads the Drumbeat workshop.
Camera IconHolyoake social enterprise manager Alan Beattie leads the Drumbeat workshop. Credit: Carly Laden

Psychology and percussion are set to be combined in a new wellbeing program being trialled across the Kimberley.

Drumbeat, developed by Perth-based counselling provider Holyoake, is an evidence-based social and emotional learning program using rhythm psychology and neurobiology to reconnect with ourselves and others.

After receiving more than $350,000 in State Government funding last month, the team at Holyoake have begun creating a customised version of the program to be used in the Kimberley region, beginning with a trial session with local community members last Tuesday.

Holyoake social enterprise manager Alan Beattie, pictured, said Drumbeat was like a group counselling program but incorporating drumming as part of the session rather than it solely being talk-based.

“(The drums) create a completely different dynamic in relation to how the group counselling works,” he said.

“It opens up a whole range of cognitive thinking rather than just what happens in a typical group counselling session.

“There has been a lot of research into the program and it has produced a lot of positive results, from children to prisoners and veterans.

“While it is a structured program, it is also very flexible because we are able to customise it to appeal to different demographics.”

Mr Beattie said the reason why Holyoake was piloting a program dedicated to the indigenous people in the Kimberley was because of his longtime association with the region, which made the trial a perfect fit.

Holyoake will be working with respected Aboriginal elders, community members and local service providers to culturally adapt the Drumbeat materials to further increase the program’s effectiveness and flexibility in delivery.

“We know Drumbeat works well with indigenous people already but we’re looking at what we can do to make it even better,” he said.

“We’re starting in Broome with our first round of solid consultations to get local input after holding discussions about a month ago to make sure people were on board with what we wanted to do.

“After that we plan to run a minimum of four pilots in the area with different age groups to get our materials right.

“Then we will go through the same process after about 12 months but we will venture out to towns like Fitzroy Crossing, Halls Creek and Wyndham and then in the third year we will focus on remote communities.”

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