Wed, May 30, 2012 - Page 16 News List

Volunteers use music therapy to heal prisoners
志工用音樂治療 幫助受刑人

Inmates dance to music being performed on a nearby stage for a music therapy concert at the Tihar jail in New Delhi on April 26.
囚犯四月二十六日於新德里迪哈爾監獄為附近舉辦的音樂治療演出跳舞。

Photos: AFP
照片:法新社

A volunteer named Chen Yung-chang called upon his fellow Christians to form a group to help improve and heal the emotions of prisoners battling drug addiction and mental illness. They organized musical activities at Taichung Prison on May 23, leading more than 150 prisoners to sing and dance, using music therapy to ameliorate the emotional issues prisoners must deal with.

When Chen was visiting various prisons a decade ago, he noticed that many prisoners suffered from drug addiction and mental illness, causing a number of problems for them because they were emotionally unstable, and leaving him unable to do his teaching work. It was not until two years ago, when he read an article in the Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper) about a teacher named Chi Kai-ling, who was teaching prisoners how to play musical instruments at Yunlin Prison as a method of healing, that he received inspiration to return to his church and enlist fellow volunteers that had the same aspirations to do music therapy work.

Music therapy is currently used at various prisons, including Taichung Prison and Taichung Women’s Prison, where playing instruments and singing songs allow prisoners to calm themselves emotionally.

Chen says that it is very difficult to reason with prisoners, but when using music and songs you quickly realize that after they hear and sing something familiar to them, it causes positive changes in their overall emotional state.

Chen’s music therapy is so beneficial for the prisoners that Taichung Prison is recommending him as a candidate for the Ministry of Justice’s “unique and superior education volunteer” award.

(Liberty Times, Translated by Kyle Jeffcoat)

TODAY’S WORDS 今日單字

1. volunteer n.

志工 (zhi4 gong1)

例: Millions of Taiwanese serve as volunteers every year.

(數百萬台灣人每年當志工。)

2. heal v.

治療 (zhi4 liao2)

例: From a very young age, the doctor felt he had a mission to heal the sick.

(從小時候開始,這位醫師就對治療病人有使命感。)

3. mental illness n. phr.

心理疾病 (xin1 li3 ji2 bing4)

例: Depression, schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder are all forms of mental illness.

(憂鬱症、精神分裂與強迫症均是心理疾病的一種。)


為了改善、治療吸毒及罹患心理疾病受刑人的情緒,志工陳永昌號召基督教人士組團,五月二十三日到台中監獄舉辦音樂活動,帶領一百五十多名受刑人又唱又跳,以音樂治療改善受刑人的情緒問題。

陳永昌十年前到各監所當志工,他發現部份受刑人深受吸毒及心理疾病困擾,引發情緒不穩,造成不少問題,教誨工作亦無法解決。直到二年多前,他看到本報報導雲林監獄有位紀凱玲老師,教導受刑人各種樂器,讓他們從音樂中得到治療,陳永昌獲得啟發,回教會找志工,大家有志一同,一起從事音樂治療工作。

目前音樂治療已在台中監獄、女監等地展開,讓受刑人藉由樂器及高唱詩歌等方式穩定其情緒。

陳永昌說,跟受刑人說太多「道理」,他們不一定聽得進去,透過音樂及詩歌,卻可以很快發現,受刑人在耳濡目染下,情緒會有所改變。

陳永昌的音樂治療對受刑人助益很多,台中監獄今年也推薦他為「特殊優良教育志工」,向法務部呈報。

(自由時報記者林良哲)

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