Taikotherapy because sometimes talking is not enough

Taikotherapy spaces are available again from October 2017


About Taikotherapy


Taikotherapy, although based on well researched and effective therapy methods and neuroscientific insights, is a brandnew type of therapy, developed by Diana Armstrong. Here are some of the benefits:


Talking therapy is of course very useful, but sometimes it is just not enough to talk.

Playing a Taiko drum involves the whole body, precisely co-ordinated movements and absolute focus. Due to the energetic physical nature of this style of drumming, tension is released, anger vented, distress expressed. Without uttering a single word, the player is heard and integrated into the group. And often in a much better place to talk or to listen.

This prepares group members for the talking therapy part of the session. After the talking part, any residual negative feelings can be released through the playing of Taiko again. The final part of sessions is focussed on playing upbeat and uplifting rhythms, leaving participants refreshed and energised.


In order to play Taiko, the player must focus completely on the here and now. A practice based on Zen tradition and similar to Mindfulness meditation, this helps to stop rumination and unhelpful thoughts.


Because group members usually choose to rehearse some of the rhythms at home, this serves as a distraction even away from the group.


Taiko drums produce a lovely dark bass frequency. Research has shown that this produces Serotonin, which we need to regulate our mood. At the same time, Oxytocin is released, which increases our ability to connect with others and to empathically understand them.


Although Taiko is suitable for any adult of any age and fitness level, it is still a demanding physical exercise, which burns up to 500 kcal per hour.


As with any exercise, endorphins are released, which further lift our mood and wellbeing.


When I see my clients in my normal one to one counselling practice, I often hear them say "I am ok now, but you should have seen me on Thursday when i was really upset!" or "When I am here I always feel calm, but out there in the real world I get angry and then I think - where is my therapist now?" Although Taiko drumming is enormous fun, we can get quite frustrated with ourselves when we don't manage a certain rhythm or movement straight away. It can also be frightening to play in front of others. These emotions are triggered in a safe environment, where schema therapy concepts are used to understand why we feel a certain way and how we can manage these emotions positively in future.

About the therapist

Diana Armstrong

BSc (Hons) Psych, Registered Member MBACP (Snr Accred)


As a senior accredited member of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) I follow strict ethical guidelines. I have a degree in Psychology and am trained as a person centred counsellor as well as a CBT therapist.

I have had the privilege of working with clients aged 11 to 89 in diverse settings, such as NHS, secondary education, the voluntary sector, corporate mental health sector and private practice.


The talking therapy component of the Taikotherapy groups is based on Schema Therapy concepts as well as insights from Positive Psychology and Neuroscience.


We are using Taiko drums in this therapy approach, but I am not a Taiko teacher. Although I have played Taiko for five years (with the Mugen Taiko dojo group and Tsuchigumo trainers, and have attended an intensive Taiko workshop with Kurumaya Masaaki sensei in Japan, I am still a beginner when it comes to the art of playing Taiko as an instrument. If you are interested in becoming a Taiko performer, then please take a look at these websites of Taiko trainers in the Glasgow/Edinburgh area:


Tsuchigumo Daiko

courses and workshops in Glasgow

07802 253752



Mugen Taiko Dojo

courses and workshops in Glasgow and Edinburgh




Workshops with Georgie McGeown in the southside of Glasgow



If you would prefer to see me as your individual therapist without the use of Taiko drums, please visit www.armstrongcounselling.co.uk


Brief history of Taiko


Taiko drums may have been used for more than 4000 years in Japan.

Originally used in religious ceremonies, it was also a part of everyday village life - and even used at the emperor's court.

In modern times, Taiko drums are often used in highly energetic public ensemble performances.



There are two main types of Taiko drums - Byo-daiko, which is traditionally carved by hand from a single log. The drum skins are made from cowhide, which is nailed into place, so cannot be tuned.


The other type of drum is called Shime-daiko, which is a rope tensioned drum, which has to be re-tied regularly to tune the drum and preserve the skins.


In Taikotherapy, we use both types of drum.

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