Systems in Music Therapy: Session Documentation

There are systems involved in every thing we do as music therapists - even documentation. For me, documentation is a professional responsibility that is not required by my administrators. This translates into several facts that affect how and when I document. First, I can document in the manner and style that fits me the best. This is a good thing. Second, I can set my own requirements and timelines for documentation. This can be a good thing, but can also mean that I am missing something important to notate. Third, if I decide to change documentation formats, I can do so without talking to other people about it.

I have spent some time thinking about the nuts and bolts of documentation. Check out my YouTube channel here to see some of my Music Therapy Morsels about how I do my job and things to consider when setting up documentation strategies and systems.  

For me and for my clients, the most important part of documentation is response to intervention. Most of documentation includes th…

Ethics - a Murky Subject Area

I'm spending some time delving into the subject of ethics this weekend. It's something that interests me, and it is also a subject that can consume my waking (and sleeping) hours as well. I'm doing this for a couple of reasons - one, so I can write about it, and two, so I can teach it to others. The problem with ethics is that once you start thinking about it, you can slide down a slippery slope full of arguments, opinions, and hurt feelings.

Does anyone watch The Good Place? I love this show, though I am not watching the current season due to how I get my television programs. I am behind, so I will not know how everything ends until about a year after everyone else does. This show is not one that you can jump into at any time, so if you are not watching it now, start streaming it from the beginning so you know what is going on. This show has challenged some of my thinking about ethics and ethical behavior, let me tell you!

I enjoy a good ethical dilemma - not to be in the c…

Fun Friday: Beanbags

I've been on a bit of a spending spree lately, buying things like new tote bags and plane tickets and Christmas gifts for family members and a new car and a shirt for me from my favorite blogger's brand-new bookstore and several sets of vinyl beanbags in the shapes of frogs, turtles, and ladybugs! The fruits of my shopping are starting to arrive here at my home, so I am sitting and trying to figure out a couple of things - one, where I will put all this stuff until it goes to its final destination, and two, if there is anything else I need...

(P.S. I already know the answer to the second thing on that list, but it doesn't stop me from wondering...)

This day is one where I do not have to go to work, so I am taking the day to finish up the pesky chores that have stacked up around here. I cleared out the front hallway yesterday to accommodate the annual changing of the furnace filter, so I have things that need to be pit in their places. I am distressed by the state of my compu…

A Little Bit of Advocacy, A Little Bit of Ethics - A Day in the Life of This Music Therapist

This is not going to be a typical Thursday for me. It is a day full of different things, and I am ready for a break and a change.

I will be spending some time in (gulp) less than 5 hours talking to a high school health class about music therapy. I haven't done a career talk before, and the student who invited me asked me to specifically talk about music as a way to help work through stress, so I am getting myself geared up for a discussion as well as some experiential work on that topic. In the midst of all of this, I have to clean up my home because the management company is coming in to change the furnace filters and they will not be able to reach the furnace the way things are now. There we go. After I do my clean-up, the talk, and some grocery shopping, I will be spending the rest of this day working on some ethical thought concerning being an internship director for a course I will be offering later this year.

I don't usually have this sort of opportunity to talk about mus…

I'm About Ready to Bring Out the Videos

In the past two weeks, I've had very few positive sessions at my facility. My students are struggling, our mostly new staff members are struggling, and I am struggling to get anything accomplished. I am feeling like a failure as a therapist because I haven't had a day go by where I wasn't physically assaulted by a client for simply requesting that they remain safe in my therapy space. 

Here's the deal, folks. Music therapy is not always comprised of "happy people making happy sounds." There are times when you have to deal with humans at their worst, and it is not fun. These times, though, are the times when music can be most powerful and the role of the music therapist is the most important.

Sure, any therapist can enjoy their job when everything is going right, but it takes stamina and realism and dedication to stick with a difficult client during a difficult time! (I currently have about 100 clients going through difficult times, so I am feeling like I am VER…

"NTM" TME Challenge: Gunk, Gunk or Mm-Aah or Mm-Ack or Whatever Went the Little Green Frog One Day

I have spent years and years using a couple of sets of vinyl frog beanbags for lots of things - balancing, body part identification, Down By the Banks games, tossing, you name it. Yesterday, though, I came up with a new idea and put it into my TME database.

Some background information. Our new school social worker is doing a program using the Zones of Regulation. This program works so well within my current outlook of what music therapy should be for my clients, that I am trying to use it at least once per month. There are four zones - red, green, yellow, and blue. I happen to have frogs in each of these colors (and others besides), so the frogs and the Zones happen to be an easy match. It was easy to take a familiar children's song (which I know as Gunk Gunk, but others know as different songs) and do some lyric alteration to make it fit the Zones. The group that I tried to do this with yesterday was not having ANY of it, but I think I'll be able to get some others engaged in …

Moving the Post-Its

I spent some time yesterday accomplishing some of the goals that were on my September-October 30 day goal list. They were finished two days after that deadline which is REALLY great for me - I usually just let those deadlines whoosh by me. This is one that I am trying to take very seriously. I started the submission process for one of the courses that I've developed, and I decided to wait until closer to the new year to submit the other one. This is due to the approval process which lasts 365 days. So, I have finished the information and now am waiting to submit at a time that will benefit myself and others most. I feel good about all of this.

I am almost ready to move my post-it flags from the top of the page to the next page - the one reserved for finished tasks. The next set of post-it notes will move to the top of the page so I can see them. Simple little system, but it works for me!

I have also set my next 90 day goals into my planner and my thought process. I feel really silly…