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Healing powers of the harp

Harp therapist Sonja Grace

Harp therapist Sonja Grace

Survivors of clergy abuse suffer deep spiritual damage that often forces them to lock up their memories and emotions, making such victims difficult to get through to.

But the soothing sound of the harp can penetrate the emotional scars and help these people release the bottled-up pain and anger, according to harp therapist Sonja Grace.

“Survivors of clergy abuse have been damaged on many levels... The memories are locked deep within the body. People who have been abused often do not want to be touched and find it difficult to accept love because they don’t want to get hurt again.

“Sound healing may be used in the curing process because it can gently penetrate deep inside the physical body without intruding on the person’s personal space,” said Ms Grace who will be holding a series of public talks about her work between tomorrow and Monday.

Ms Grace, the author of the book Garlands From Ashes – Healing From Clergy Abuse, uses her instrument to help achieve spiritual and emotional healing.

A devout Catholic, Ms Grace started playing the harp 25 years ago and never looked back. Originally from the UK, she moved to New Zealand where she started playing for hospice clients in their homes. Then, one day, she accepted an invitation to play her harp for a Sunday service in prison.

“An inmate told me he could see love flowing out of my harp when I played. Playing my harp in prison then became my passion. One chaplain told me that playing my harp benefitted the whole unit, not just the 12 inmates who were allowed to attend the Sunday service, because everyone could hear me.

“There is something about the acoustics of the harp that enables the sound produced to travel through concrete walls,” she said.

A new prison chaplain was appointed in 2006 and she was no longer allowed to play for inmates. As she searched for other ways to play in prisons she came across the International Harp Therapy Programme, based in California, and enrolled to become a therapist. She qualified as a harp practitioner in 2010 and decided to settle in Austria.

“Today, harps are an essential part of my life. I see myself as a facilitator who uses sound to empower people to heal themselves emotionally and spiritually. I play the therapy harp to heal myself and help others,” she said.

Last year, she came to Malta to attend a conference and meet Joel Andrews, a harpist, composer and author of A Harp Full Of Stars.

“After visiting some of the temples, and experiencing Malta’s powerful energy, I keep returning to recharge my energy. This is my fourth visit this year,” she said.

Her itinerary while in Malta will include a series of public talks and lectures. On Friday, she will be visiting St Vincent de Paul Residence and hold a talk in prison about harp therapy.

For further information and to book private sessions send an e-mail to [email protected].

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