Music Therapy alum Pepe Benavides, who is based in Valparaíso, Chile, is using his background to help hospital workers deal with the fatigue and stress of caring for COVID-19 patients.
His new project, Creative Self-Care (Autocuidado Creativo), is composed of individual and group therapy sessions, as well as a series of self-care videos.
Benavides is the vice president of the Chilean Music Therapy Association. He sought to share his expertise with the four hospitals that were the hardest-hit by the pandemic in Chile and whose medical staff members were suffering from burnout.
He teamed up with colleagues to produce music and art therapy-based activities for medical professionals to do at home. He says the feedback has been very positive, that the program gives his participants “a moment of peace.”
Benavides and his teammates on the project, Beatriz Alarcón Hardy and Silvio Canihuante Fernández, are former Fulbright scholars who studied in America and were able to receive funding for their Creative Self-Care project from the United States Embassy in Santiago, Chile.
Before attending NYU Steinhardt’s program in Music Therapy, Benavides received his bachelor's degree in music and psychology. He currently works with patients both in person and online, most of whom are children with special needs, such as autism or borderline personality disorder, or emotional issues and trauma.