February 19, 2019

What Is The BAST Method of Sound Therapy?

The therapeutic sound field is vast – there are so many different approaches from different backgrounds. At BAST, we use the BAST Method of Sound Therapy, but what is it and how is it used?

What is the BAST method of Sound Therapy?

We have two main ways of working at BAST, passively and actively. In all of our approaches the therapist needs to have a good understanding of the ‘Cooper Sax 5Rs method of experiential processing’ (5Rs for short). This model enables you to improve your health and wellbeing by helping you to make sense of your experience at a deeper level. When we are interacting with situations, our environment and relationships we are often deeply and adversely affected by what happens – these outside influences have a very real impact on our health and wellbeing not to mention our lives and those around us.

The 5Rs is a very simple way of understanding how our outside world affects us and enables us to turn negative thoughts, feelings and emotions into positive ones. It also helps us to understand ourselves at a deeper level, enabling experiences from our past to be gently released so we can move on in a more positive way.

For example, if someone doesn’t like the sound of the gong the therapist would ask why that may be. The client may say ‘it is too powerful, I can’t escape’. The therapist may then ask, ‘is there something in your life either now or in the past where you felt something was too powerful and you couldn’t escape?’ The therapist will then help the client to move through this memory or experience using sound and self-reflective techniques similar to mindfulness.

The BAST Method of Sound therapy works in a targeted as well as a general way.

In a 1-2-1 session the therapist listens to the client’s needs and then selects specific instruments and techniques to help with certain conditions, such as drum massage to help with muscle tension or uplifting sounds played on crystal bowls for mild depression for example. The instruments we choose is based on over 25 years of research and development.

In a group we usually work in a general way with relaxation, energising or motor co-ordination. Again, the therapist selects the instruments and techniques to work towards the therapeutic outcome. For example drumming can help with motor co-ordination or learning and behaviour depending on how you drum.

There is usually some kind of ‘homework’!

Following a BAST Method session the therapist or group leader will usually give some kid of technique you can take home with you to help your health and wellbeing improve even more. This is because taking personal responsibility for our health and wellbeing is something that goes by the wayside for so many of us. A simple breathing or humming exercise may be all that’s needed to help turn your health around.

We have arts-based approaches as well as passive sound therapy approaches

The field is growing all the time. Since 2009 we have been working within The Arts for Health and Wellbeing field and have looked at sound and voice-arts programmes. These programmes can include drumming and movement for learning and behaviour, sound or voicescape performances and community music making projects.

We love research

We have been conducting research and developing our method since 1994. In 2019 we will have 10 research programmes running – 8 being conducted by our students in their communities. From performance and arts- based approaches to looking at the therapeutic benefits of Altered States of Consciousness and the effect of drum and gong on Parkinson’s disease, there so much going on!

The world needs more sound therapists

At The British Academy of Sound Therapy we train around 70 new therapists each year helping grow the field of properly qualified sound therapists in local communities across the world. The recent rise in interest for sound therapy treatments has led to an increased demand for our course places and it is thrilling to share our knowledge with new groups of students every year.

You can learn more about sound therapy during any of our courses or by reading our research on the website. If you have any questions about any of our work please do get in touch!


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