I love being a therapist. I enjoy the act of making music with my clients. I like the challenge of finding the music that will best fit a client and a situation and making that music assist the client in completing a specific goal and objective. I like the flexibility within structure that is required when working with human beings, each with a different perspective on the world. The combination of successes and failures are what keeps me interested in the field after 16 years of clinical practice.
I am somewhat of an anacronism at my school. I am a Ph.D. student with no aspirations for a University appointment. I have tried to be interested in the University system, but I still feel really linked to the client-therapist relationship rather than the student-teacher relationship. Because of this link to the clinic, I want to do what I am doing right now - clinical music therapist as well as internship director and small business owner (the business part is developing slowly!). Most of the folks I know wonder why I am bothering with a Ph.D. I sometimes wonder as well, but will continue along that path. I think the field of music therapy needs more Ph.D.-clinicians to assist in public awareness, mentoring, and practical research.
These feelings have come about because I have increased the amount of therapy that I am doing in the clinic at work right now. This increase is due to a recent intern graduation, so I get to reestablish therapeutic relationships with my students. My co-workers are concerned about how much therapy I have to do now that I only have one intern - I laugh in their faces and remind them that it is more unusual to have an intern than not. I miss the act of therapy when I am relegated to the position of observer. (Another indication to me that "Professor" is not one of my future titles!) I enjoy being the one of the only staff members that my clients associate with positive experiences and the opportunity to play. I like the uncertainty that arises when a client comes to music therapy and I have to shape their suggestions and ideas into a session that allows them to work on their goals. It is a challenge that I relish and want to continue.