Thursday, December 13, 2007

Snow Days in a Residential Treatment Facility
Snow days present an unique challenge to teachers and therapists who work in residential treatment facilities. Someone needs to be providing supervision and active treatment for the residents, but snow days are dangerous to be out and about. What to do! When I first started working at the facility, we HAD to come in to work or be docked pay. Things have evolved into a more equitable process where we have essential and nonessential staff who come in. We have enough staff to provide a comfortable ration and all students receive music therapy on snow days. In return, I get snow day credit - time off at a later date (generally around Spring Break) to spend as I see fit. I feel the risk is outweighed by the benefits in this case.
Snow days start with students sleeping in - the rationale is that all of the other students in the town get a relaxing day, so why shouldn't ours as well? We let students sleep until they wake up naturally. You'd be surprised how many students wake at the normal time when they do not have to! Then, we go down and eat breakfast. The rest of the day includes time in the gym for unstructured play and exercise and a music therapy session. Classrooms cook treats, watch movies, and relax during the day. We have no major behavior issues during snow days - it amazes all of us who are on essential staff!
Now, we have decided that two snow days in a row are our limit. By snow day 2, the novelty has worn off on relaxing and boredom starts to set in. Heaven help us if we ever have snow day 3-in-a-row! But, for now, the snow days start to add up, I can make Spring Break plans, and we actually have school today. The drama restarts as the nonessential staff members come back and expect us to work! SNARK!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Christmas is coming...
And while I would say that the goose is NOT getting fat, I am certainly looking forward to the holiday season this year. I am officially finished with all of the holiday hulla-ba-loo that I am responsible for, and I am getting ready to kick back!
Of course, there are the two intern evaluations I need to do this week, the senior intern to prep for a second interview, the two papers to write for Dr. C, and the cleaning, the cleaning, THE CLEANING! At least the shopping is finished!
Back to intern talk - there is much satisfaction to be had as a clinical trainer. I am confident that the intern that is finishing her time with me will be happy as a therapist. She has great instincts when it comes to working with adolescents. I am nervous for her, but happy that she has a promising second interview with an apparently growing company. I am starting to get ready for the next several interns.
The process of teaching someone how to do music therapy is much different from actually doing therapy. Interns challenge my own therapeutic development because they want, need, and deserve to know why I am doing specific things with my clients. I constantly find myself reflecting on the process and therapeutic triad when I am training others. It is so important to recognize and use the power of music for the benefit of the client when conducting therapy. I find that I often fade into the background of an exceptional session - those moments are often rare, but I can still feel one when it happens. The perfect blend of music and client as a production of joy. The therapist plays a tertiary role in the session. All that matters is the connection that the client has to the music - the therapist merely manipulates the music to make that connection.
Deep thoughts for a Sunday...I'm exhausted and need to let these ideas marinate.