Cheryl Kripke Cohen, RN, MSN, HCMHT, is a Hospital Certified Master of Harp Therapy. She received her Hospital Certification as a Harp Therapist and a Master of Harp Therapy from Bedside Harp in Bensalem, PA and Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ in August 2005. She discovered her passion for the harp in June 2003 during a beginner’s harp class. Since then, her quest has been to use this magical instrument for therapeutic purposes in health care settings.
Cheryl worked as a harp therapist at Abington Memorial Hospital in Abington, PA, a 570-bed, community teaching hospital, from December 2006 to April 2009. She played throughout the hospital, which included medical, surgical, inpatient oncology, radiation oncology, outpatient chemo infusion, hospice, pediatric, telemetry, neurology, and orthopedic units, the heart center, pre-op and recovery rooms, emergency room, inpatient psychiatric, dialysis, progressive care, rehabilitation, heart failure units, ante partum, labor and delivery, and postpartum floors, neonatal intensive care unit, medical intensive care unit, cardiac care unit, cardiac surgery unit, surgical trauma unit, and intensive care unit, waiting rooms, lobbies, corridors, and elevators.
Cheryl also played her harp for special Abington Memorial Hospital events which included employee health fairs, the opening of the new inpatient oncology unit, Dixon School of Nursing celebration party, nursing research award breakfast, nursing job fair, winter holiday parties, a patient’s wedding, memorial services, and neonatal intensive care unit reunions.
Cheryl worked as a harp therapist for Caring Hospice in Fort Washington, PA from January 2007 to April 2009. She provided harp therapy for hospice patients and their families in their homes. She also played harp music for groups of residents and staff of nursing homes and assisted living facilities that Caring Hospice served.
Cheryl facilitated a partnership between Abington Memorial Hospital and Bedside Harp, and provided additional harp therapy hours for Bedside Harp throughout the hospital from March 2007 to March 2009. She provided information about harp therapy to those interested, and made referrals to harp classes and the harp therapy certification training program provided by Bedside Harp.
Cheryl has been visiting Neshaminy Manor Nursing Home in Warrington, PA monthly since October 2007. She provides harp music to groups of residents and staff in their dementia unit and other units. She also visits residents who are room-bound for private harp therapy sessions.
Cheryl also provides harp music occasionally in the inpatient and outpatient oncology units at Saint Christopher’s Hospital for Children in Philadelphia, PA, as well as plays at their pediatric oncology memorial services, sponsored by the Kisses for Kyle Foundation. She also provided harp music in the family lounge of the inpatient oncology unit of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, sponsored by the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, and played during luncheons and dinners for children with cancer and their families, sponsored by the Kisses for Kyle Foundation.
As a harp therapist, Cheryl visits nursing homes and assisted living facilities, makes home visits, and plays at funerals, viewings and memorial services.
As a harpist, Cheryl plays at weddings, birthday parties, holiday parties, afternoon teas, neighborhood block parties, religious services, business events, art auctions, and during special breakfasts, luncheons and dinners.
Cheryl’s volunteer work includes many musical pursuits within her synagogue, Or Hadash in Fort Washington, PA. She produced Healing Harmonies, a 19 track healing CD of Jewish music to help comfort congregants facing illness and loss in 2004. She recorded 7 of the 19 tracks on Healing Harmonies: 1 on harp, 3 on piano, and 3 singing with the choir. She plays her harp at healing services, Sabbath services, High Holiday services, Bar/Bat Mitzvah services, and funeral services. She has been singing with the Or Hadash choir (soprano section) since 2000.
As a member of the Bedside Harp’s harp circle during 2003-2004, Cheryl participated as an ensemble at several social, charitable, and religious events. She also played her harp and the piano as a volunteer at Dresher Estates assisted living facility in Dresher, PA, for residents in the dementia unit from April 2005 to March 2009.
While studying to be a harp therapist, and after graduation, Cheryl sought out volunteer work playing her harp at the dental office of Dr. Michael DeGeorge in Flourtown, PA, and at Keystone Hospice’s inpatient facility in Wyndmoor, PA.
During her mid-20s, Cheryl studied Middle Eastern Dance, performed with a Middle Eastern dance troupe, and learned to play the zills (finger cymbals) as an essential part of the dance from 1983 to 1986. Cheryl studied the piano for five years as a child, sparking her love for music and providing her with a solid musical foundation.
Cheryl has been a Licensed Registered Nurse since 1981. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Cum Laude, from Boston University in 1981, and her Master of Science in Nursing, specializing in Pediatric Primary Health Care, from University of Pennsylvania in 1986.
Most of her nursing career has been in Pediatrics, working extensively in pediatric primary health care settings. She has worked as a Pediatric Office Nurse at Fort Washington Pediatrics, Fort Washington, PA, from 1991 to 2007, and at Andorra Pediatrics, Philadelphia, PA, from 1983 to 1985. She worked as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at Pediatrics of Willingboro, NJ, from 1986 to 1987. She worked as a Pediatric Staff Nurse at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Adolescent unit, Philadelphia, PA, from 1982 to 1983, and at Emerson Hospital’s Pediatric unit, Concord, MA, from 1981to 1982.
Cheryl sought out training and certification as a Breast Feeding Counselor from Childbirth Education Association of Greater Philadelphia, PA in 1987, and a Parenting Educator from Parents’ Network, Fort Washington, PA in 1992, gaining valuable knowledge for her work in pediatric nursing.
While facing a health crisis in the summer of 2000, Cheryl found comfort and strength listening to calming and spiritual music, and playing this type of music on the piano. During her recovery process, she took up the harp, fulfilling a lifelong dream. After just a few months of harp playing, her health condition improved and her sense of well being flourished. She believes that the harp’s penetrating vibrations and its soothing timbre played a major role in her own healing process.
Cheryl has found her calling as a harp therapist because this work blends her two passions in life: to help people cope with health issues and to share the healing power of music with others.