Sassen (2012) Drums and Poems: An Intervention Promoting Empathic Connection and Literacy in Children

literature type:

journal article


Georgia Sassen. Journal of Creativity in Mental Health. 2012; Vol. 7, No. 3: pp 233-248.


Expressive therapies can be used with groups of children to increase empathy and reduce bullying and violence. When educators feel pressured to focus on standardized tests and basic skills, there is little attention and time for such programs. Drums and Poems is an intervention that counselors and teachers can use to address these problems by teaching literacy skills and empathic connection-building skills simultaneously. Group leaders incorporate relational-cultural theory (RCT) and elements of music and poetry therapy in a preventive group intervention for at-risk 7- to 9-year olds. They focus on the empathic process as children create poems as a group, supporting the RCT aspects of the intervention. This article includes an explanation of the Drums and Poems technique and the relational concepts that inform it, introducing the concept of empowered belonging. The use of relational-cultural concepts such as empathy, power-with, relational images, and controlling images are explained.


arts categories:


population(s) served: