What I Do When My Client Says, "No."

There was a question about working with persons with the diagnosis of Oppositional Defiance Disorder (ODD) on one of my social media links, and a friend of mine tagged me to respond. I started to think about the folks that I know who have come in with this label, and how I worked with them. In my years of working with children and adolescents with a variety of concerns, I have found that the way I work with those with the initials ODD as part of their mental and developmental health diagnoses is not that different from how I work with those without those particular letters.

When I start to sit down and think deeply about what I want the therapeutic relationship to look like, I want my clients to make decisions about their own treatment. I want my clients to know that they have a say in what we do, and how we do it. I want to foster a mutual respect for the clients who come to music therapy with me. To that end, I find that there are times when my clients don't want to do what I hav…

TME Tuesday: A TME in Process

It was the first day of school yesterday, and I had a TME that did not include any music. In my book, a TME that doesn't have any music (but was music-related) is not something that a music therapist is uniquely qualified to do with clients, so I really wanted and needed some music to go with the idea.

I came up with a little song to go with the idea. It was an explanation song - an attempt to let my clients learn about the concept we were working on while supporting their engagement and participation. It's not a bad little song (I usually write songs that fit a specific pattern), and it worked the way I wanted it to during sessions yesterday. I think it will work today as well.

So, the way I do most of my composing is not your regular run of the mill composing practice. I use an index card. Always have, and probably always will use a 4X6 inch index card. I always have them nearby (they are part of my "always" bag necessities), and they are inexpensive so I can use the…

Small Steps

Today is the start of the 2017-2018 school year. Kids come to class and to sessions starting today. I've had to deal with teacher complaints about their schedules (talk to others, not to me!) and assisted in reassigning four out of twelve group assignments (that will cause some consternation today, I am SURE!). In the music therapy room, we are going to do some rhythm work this week.

As I have mentioned before, music therapy tends to be the only place where my students have positive experiences in a music environment. This is usually because my students don't participate easily in general music education as most music educators know how to engage. Add in the fact that most of my students do not understand many of the concepts of music education (seriously, why do we call that a quarter note?) and the additional fact that they have serious behavior responses when they are not engaged, and most music educators just cannot work with my students. So, many of them come to their firs…

Just a Song Sunday: Let There Be Peace On Earth

I hate it when the world gets enveloped in hatred and fear.

I despair when people take something that means one thing to me and twists it into something that supports hurting others.

I am disturbed when acts that are designed to hurt others and instill fear in more people are not labeled what they clearly are (in my opinion), terrorism, no matter who perpetrates the action. 

I like to think that I would have been one of the people in the clergy line, promoting peace and nonviolent demonstration, but I suspect that I would not have stepped up to participate if invited to do so. That makes me sad.

Full disclosure here. I am a white, Christian, highly educated single woman. I am about as privileged as you can be when it comes to expectations and socioeconomic status (I could always be higher on the SEStatus continuum, but I have enough money to support myself and my eccentric habits, so I really can't complain).

When things happen in the world, like the demonstrations and deaths in Charlo…

One Day Per Week

My school schedule is fully in effect as of this weekend. I no longer have the luxury of three-day weekends that I get during the summer months. I now have only one day per week free from work-related responsibilities (mostly). Even this day occasionally has work-related responsibilities, but I do try to limit them to things that I love or volunteer to do rather than the full-time job things that happen that I am asked to volunteer for (there's an event this evening, as a matter of fact, that I declined because it was on my one day off and would affect my other job tomorrow morning).

I get to plan on not having plans today. That is a good thing for me. I have nothing that I have to do, except for cleaning the kitchen of course, that never goes away. I'm even enough caught up with the laundry that I don't have a full load to do this weekend. That's good.

Saturdays are my self-care day. For me, self-care includes time to sit on my bed and read books for fun. Self-care incl…

Back to Work

I'm not sure what to write about this morning. I had started a post about some good news that we received at work yesterday, but it really wasn't moving me towards writing about music therapy, so I abandoned that post idea. Here's an idea...

I am getting ready for a work day at my job today. This is a luxury that doesn't happen as much as it used to, and I am very thankful for this day dedicated to preparation for students. My plan is to clean out, clean up, and organize my storage closet and my office. To that end, I'll be arriving early to start pulling things out of my spaces. I want to be able to clean the floors before I reorganize, so I plan on taking everything out of the rooms first. Then, I will swiff the floors with my Swiffers and then reload the rooms. I also want to take things that I do not need back to my home. There's no reason to keep things where they are not needed.

I am looking forward to today. I am going to put the iPod into the stereo to pl…

Thoughtful Thursday: Time to Get Going

I woke up this morning around 2 am. I had started another migraine headache, and I guess my brain wanted me to enjoy every moment of the experience. I'm not really surprised by this - I knew another headache was coming, but I never know quite when they will occur. I did eat lots of pepperoni yesterday, so that may have brought on this last migraine a bit faster than usual. I'm actually glad to be going through this one as my previous migraine pattern has been a cluster of 4 headaches and then a break for about 5 years before the next cluster. This is headache #4. 

At about 2:45, I noticed the sparkles, so I downed some of my favorite headache medication before the pain started. At this point, almost 3 hours later, I have twinges of pain, but that's really all. I will need to take some more medication in about an hour to keep on top of the pain because this is the first day of school, and I will NOT take it off as sick time! We have no students today, but we do have lots of …