Monday, September 29, 2008


I will be missing my 20 year high school reunion this Saturday evening. There are several things that I find wrong with that statement - First, it has already been 20 years since high school, and while I do not find myself wishing for those days again, it does not seem possible that that much time has passed. What happened to being young?

I have some issues with my sciatic nerve. I feel old as I totter around my apartment, limping on my right leg. The fact that I am missing my 20 year reunion makes me feel even worse! Go figure.

The best thing about aging is thinking about music therapists-future who will have to engage me in music therapy reminiscence groups in later years. They will have to sing early Madonna, U2, Thompson Twins, and songs from every Disney movie ever made to engage my attention. Can you imagine the difficulty with finding, "Don't Pay the Ferryman" by Chris DeBurgh for my poor future MT? I will find some way to communicate my musical preferences very clearly to indicate what I will and will not listen to! Ozzy? I get a certain amount of glee from thinking about the future.

Well, back to my bed to get off the leg - if the sciatica doesn't get me, the arthritis will!

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Therapeutic Triad

Recently, I have been pondering the role that the therapist plays in a music therapy session. I really like the idea of the therapeutic triad - don't know who came up with the concept, or even where I learned about it, so I'll make no attempt to cite it - sorry. I envision the therapy relationship as a flexible triangle with the client at the top of the triangle, the therapist at one end at the bottom and music at the other end. The triangle is flexible and pulls one way and the other as the members of the triad work together or apart from one another. Each element is essential for the others to participate in effective music therapy, but none is more important than the client. Without client involvement, there is no therapy.

So, I started to explain the concept of this triad to an intern at my facility. She is a very visual learner, so the picture of the triangle was the best first step for her. We discussed each of the elements of the relationship separately and then started talking about how we, as therapists, could either work with the music element to enhance the therapy or work against the music and not achieve our goals. We spoke about the times that the client and the therapist work together to produce the music element, the ways that the client and the music can change the therapist, and we talked about how music should be our greatest ally in the clinic and session. This brought about the talk about how music can do so much without a therapist, but coupled with a therapist who is able to select music for its elements and specific characteristics, the power of music is unlimited.

We were both able to put this into practice. I have had this concept for a long time and know how to choose music to support the goals of my clients, but it was interesting to explain it to someone else. I feel that we do not often talk to our novice therapists about the therapeutic influences of music on behavior in courses, so they do not have a concept of how to choose musical elements to support the objectives of the clients. Students often choose the song and play it the way they were taught to play, regardless of what the client is attempting to communicate about their needs and engagement. I enjoy the use of the 6-month internship as a time to discuss the concepts that may or may not have been covered in the massive amounts of education that students participated in. The internship offers those A-HA moments which are so important for learning and gives students a chance to assimilate and generalize information into reality.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Moon

Ask anyone who has ever worked in an emergency room, and they will tell you - full moon nights are the most bizarre nights ever. I am a moon baby and VERY affected by the cycles of the moon. Let me explain.

I was a postmature baby. You don't hear much about those of us who were more comfortable in utero than the rest of you folks, but there are babies that wait to be born. I was one of those babies.

My mother carried me for almost 10 months, much to her dismay, and I waited to be born until the night of the full moon. I was one of 31 babies born that night and day and things were hopping in the hospital.

Ever since then, I have been ruled by the moon.

My mom swears that I cycled through mild forms of mania and depression even as an infant, linked up with the moon cycles. (She has worked in hospitals and has observed the full moon phenomenon personally). She said things would just become difficult to explain or talk about, and she would check the calendar.

This topic is on my mind because I had an episode on Monday that caused me to become mildly depressed. I started to be concerned because I do not like the depressive side of my personality and was worried that I was getting ready to burnout of my job. I couldn't understand why it was such a change in mood and demeanor over the past several days. I wrote about it in my journal and started processing through the situation. Yesterday, I was fine. My perky personality was back, and I was happy with my job and other aspects of my life. I wondered, so I looked at the calendar.

Lo and behold, a new moon day.

It's hard to explain what I feel when this occurs. Sometimes I feel pulled up, other times I feel pushed down. Monday was a pushed down day. I'm hoping that September 15th will be a pulled up day - I feel taller, more elegant, less ruled by gravity.

I worked with a psychologist who scoffed at the idea that behavior was affected by the moon cycle. I understand that we do not know if the moon affects us in any way because we have never existed without the moon.

But, leave me my identity as a moon baby - it makes me feel better to think that there is something else out there that affects me, something I can't control. and something to blame things on.