This presentation provides participants with an overview of the award-winning Holyoake DRUMBEAT® program. DRUMBEAT® is an acronym for Discovering Relationships Using Music - Beliefs, Emotions, Attitudes and Thoughts and was developed by Holyoake in order to engage young people in discussion about all the different aspects of healthy relationships. The program provides a response to the increasing evidence of social isolation and disengagement as root causes of a wide range of behavioural issues. The program focuses on empowering young people to develop supportive relationships critical to a happy and meaningful life.


DRUMBEAT® is a fun program, utilising hand-drumming to engage students, reduce defensiveness, and improve emotional regulation. Neurological research highlights the limitations of cognitive therapies in addressing dysregulation triggered by primal brain functions that have been impacted by trauma. Guidelines for working with young people who have suffered trauma emphasise the need for somatosensory interventions with rhythmic exercise being recognised as a conduit to improved regulatory control.


The Holyoake DRUMBEAT® program is supported by a number of independent research studies published in Australian and International journals with findings of increased self-esteem, improved psychological well-being, increased school attendance, reductions in behavioural incidents and reductions in psychological distress. The program is used widely in schools across Australia as well as in New Zealand, Canada, and the USA.


For more information on the DRUMBEAT® program, including published research, visit www.holyoake.org.au/drumbeat



About Vanessa

Vanessa Trengove is a Senior DRUMBEAT® Facilitator and Trainer.  Vanessa discovered DRUMBEAT® while working as a School Chaplin with children experiencing grief and loss and those who were emotionally and socially disengaged.  The games and exercises in the DRUMBEAT® program enabled the children in her care to heal and grown in confidence and experience a sense of wellbeing in their lives. Vanessa’s DRUMBEAT® programs became so successful that a range of schools employed her exclusively to deliver DRUMBEAT® to their vulnerable children many of who presented with complex and special needs.

In 2012 Holyoake employed Vanessa directly to deliver DRUMBEAT® programs and to train professionals across human services in the program.

In addition to her Chaplaincy and Ministry work, Vanessa is an experienced Youth Worker. Vanessa has studied Ministry at Notre Dame University Western Australia and is currently completing a Bachelor of Social Science degree, majoring in Human Services.


About Grace

Grace Trusso is a Master DRUMBEAT® Facilitator and Trainer who has both delivered the program and provided training to professionals to become DRUMBEAT® facilitators for the last seven years. Grace is passionate about the DRUMBEAT® program and the benefits of using drumming as a way to engage participants, to explore life skills, relationships, and raise self-esteem. Grace has delivered the program within mainstream class rooms and for education environments catering for students with complex needs including those arising from trauma and abuse. A career highlight has been her extensive travel throughout remote Australia to work in collaboration with local indigenous children and communities.

Prior to her DRUMBEAT® role Grace worked for Holyoake for more than a decade as a counsellor, group facilitator for programs specialising in alcohol and other drugs and in the Prison to Parole program.  Grace is currently studying Psychology in Addiction studies at Edith Cowan University in Western Australia.


About Tara

Tara Sita is a Senior DRUMBEAT® Facilitator and Trainer with a speciality in delivering DRUMBEAT® for students presenting with complex needs arising from trauma, abuse and Alcohol and Other Drugs issues. Tara has worked in the Alcohol and Other Drug field for five years, as a counsellor, educator and trainer with individuals, groups and in corporate settings.   Her psychology experience was gained in outpatient group settings for mental health, with clients presenting with a number of mental health issues.   Research interests include family and domestic violence, the impact of social factors on Alcohol and Other Drug use, and the impact of psychological trauma on the brain.

Tara is currently completing her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology at Edith Cowan University Western Australia.