Showing posts from June, 2010
Did you know?

...that music therapists are a unique brand of people? If you are reading this, then of course you do! Each music therapist approaches the act of therapy based on his or her experiences, ideas, interests, talents, relationships, and clients. Every session is completely different and that is the way it should be.

I am a music therapist.

I have often fell into the trap of comparing myself to others. The "I should be doing..." trap. I remember sitting in a presentation about music in geriatric settings and thinking, "I should know all the words to My Merry Oldsmobile." I felt that I was not a good music therapist because of my lack of knowledge. I then engaged in some cognitive retraining and thought, "I may not know that song, but most of these folks couldn't sing a Britney Spears song if their life depended on it." It was like a lightbulb went on over my head. I wasn't an inadequate therapist, I was the perfect therapist for the clients …
The Therapeutic Use of Self

Music therapy is a combination of client, music, and therapist. We do not often discuss the use of therapists in the therapeutic relationship, but the therapist is a key to the success or failure of music therapy.

I have a slight headache today and have not slept as much as I needed to last night. This will affect my interactions today. I will try to remain consistent, positive, and focused on others during the day. This is perhaps the most difficult part of being a therapist - ignoring the personal in favor of the therapeutic.

To be a therapist, you have to find the balance between "you" and "therapist." I take my baggage with me into every session. I will be taking my current insomnia, my slight headache, and my current outlook on life, my job, etc. into every session. I can try to stuff all of that deep into me and not let it affect my life, or I can use it as part of therapy to assist me in working with my clients.

The challenge is to wa…
June 5, 2010

In the past two days, I have been the flag carrier for the behavioral movement in music therapy. I have tried to demonstrate the commonalities between music therapists rather than the differences. It has been an interesting exercise as I do not think in the same terms as folks from different philosophical backgrounds. I am enriching my vocabulary and nomenclature with every post.

Others have started to speak up as well. We have had several posts where people have protested the anti-behavioral climate of the listserv, the negative criticism of presentations offered through our organization, and general dissatisfaction with some of the things that occur on the listserv. This is good, healthy, and needed so we can become a more cohesive group of professionals.

The other thing that has happened in the past two days is that I am on the organizing committee of the first online conference for music therapy. It is scheduled for March 5-6, 2011 and will probably take up some time. It…
Getting Fed Up and Opening Your Big Mouth...

I did it. I got defensive and upset at a blowhard from the music therapy listserv yesterday. He stated, "If we were to lean on this concept toward defining music therapy, those practicing from a behavioral orientation would be shut out"in reference to understanding our clients through their music. I got defensive and wrote about it in a response. He backtracked and stated that he did not mean that we would be shut out of the profession, even though that was what he intimated in the email. I received several statements of support, especially regarding my plea to stop knocking other philosophical viewpoints in favor of your own.

Then, I started to think about how I understand my clients through their music. I imagine my understanding is much like any other therapist's understanding. I may translate their music a bit differently, but I am still engaging in analyzing their rhythms, tempos, melodies, harmonies, dissonances, consonan…
Defining Music Therapy

The next problem taking over the listserve right now is a debate between two VERY active philosophical types. How do we define an undefinable profession?

Here is the AMTA definition:

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program (American Music Therapy Association, 2010).

I find myself explaining what music therapy is through the AMTA definition - which is very vague - and then through examples of what music therapists do in their sessions. The AMTA definition is never sufficient to illustrate what we do with clients. I find that examples provide a clearer picture of what music therapy is and can be...

Why is it so difficult to define our profession?

Part of the problem is that music therapists have vastly different job responsibilities, therapeutic aims, and techniques. There …
Marketing to the Music Therapist

I am in the process of designing products for music therapists, music educators, and others interested in music-enhanced education. I am trying to figure out how to demonstrate my tools and products to music therapists who work with children and adolescents in educational settings. I guess I will try to do some stuff through the listserve.

One of the blessings and disadvantages to being a music therapist is the difficulty in defining our profession. Each of us offers a very different music therapy experience to our clients. This makes things complicated because what I find to be an important tool might not be important to any other music therapist.

So, why are we so very different? I think there is variation because of the nature of music and the nature of each member of the therapeutic experience. I get to change my nature with each set of clients that enter the music therapy room. My music changes as well to accommodate client interests, preferences, an…