Focusing on What Makes Music Therapy Unique
Well, duh, music.
There are many things that music therapists do well. We help clients, patients, residents, persons-served, whomever to reach their goals using music as the primary treatment modality. We often do not let folks know the effect of music on human development in a way that makes sense to our audience.
It is not just enough to say that music works well.
We have to be able to talk about the effect of music on the human being in terminology that is familiar to our audience. In order to do that, we, music therapists, must know what neurologists, music psychologists, and behavioral psychiatrists are finding out about what happens inside the brain when music is in the environment. We know how folks respond on the outside, but the specific reactions occurring in the brain are not often visible or accessible to the average music therapists.
In the past week, the music therapy listserv has been in an uproar due to the coverage of music therapy in relation to the rehabilitation of one of the members of Congress. The mere mention of music and treatment accompanied by music has sent several of us into tizzies!
In my opinion, music therapy has been treated well in relation to other therapies offered to this particular client. We have had several articles about music as a treatment modality. These articles have not always mentioned music therapy or specific music therapists, but several of them have not only mentioned music therapy, but have featured music therapists doing therapy with clients. This is a good sign. I personally feel that music therapy has been represented pretty well during this time, but we still have a long way to go as a professional body.
We need to remember that, while we are great, people still don't know much about our profession. We need to continue to use our greatest strength...our music.