Thursday, February 20, 2014

Medically Induced Hazes...

I am on medication again - the same medication that I was on all of last year that causes me to be depressed and VERY non-therapeutic.

I hate being in a medical fog. The lesson learned, though, is a small inkling of what my clients go through on a regular basis. It is amazing how medication can affect everything that goes on around you. I wonder what happens in the perceptions of my kids when their medications are switched by their parents/guardians and the psychiatrist. They don't have much of a say in any of their medical decisions - one of the downsides of being underage. I now know a very small bit of how those medications affect the ability to relate with the outside world.

I haven't been able to go far outside my house this week. The medical condition that I have requires pain medication, walking really slowly, and occasional spasms. The medication to "fix" this condition makes me feel dizzy, causes depression, and fits of crying. My rational brain knows that this is mostly chemically based, but also knows that it is difficult to be responsive and reflective when you are trying to keep yourself from exploding into tears. My emotional brain is just up, down, and all over the place. What a mess!

The hazes that I am involved in right now are ridiculous, but are completely happening for and to me. My rational brain is often overwhelmed by my emotional brain, and until I can get the emotional brain in control, I do not feel that I'm going to be effective as a therapist for kids who are also having difficulty with that emotional brain. If I cannot control my own emotions, I cannot assist others through the process of figuring out emotions and then dealing with those emotions.

So, I am sitting in my home, again, getting ready to spend the day with the cat wondering if I can venture out of the house for more than 90 minutes without having a spasm that sends me to the floor. I am looking around the pit of despair and thinking that I really need to clean. I start trying to think about what to clean, but then get overwhelmed and crawl back to bed.

My rational mind is screaming, "Don't think about it! Just get moving."

We'll see how the day ends up.

Saturday, February 15, 2014


I went to Walmart really early this morning to troll the leftover Valentine's Day candy and THERE WAS NONE!

Let me repeat that.


The candy aisle was already converted into Easter candy - nothing Valentine's Day was left in the entire store! I couldn't believe it! What a disappointment.

On the other hand, I did buy laundry detergent, fabric softener, cough drops for my choir members, cat food, and a new book! Hooray!

I am still disappointed with the lack of cheap chocolate available at my local store, though. It seems to be a conspiracy against me and my intrinsic need for chocolate at less than retail prices.

There has to be a song in there somewhere - it will be a blues song, of course!

Went to my Walmart, (buh duh duh dum)
Walked around the store. (buh duh duh dum)
Had a hankerin' for choc'late (buh duh duh dum)
Couldn't find it any more...

I strolled around and around the place,
Looking for a treat.
Shoulda seen the look on my pathetic face,
It was anything but sweet!

Out of strong emotion comes beautiful music (or, maybe not ;-). ).

Anyway, I'll be hitting the grocery store tomorrow to see if there is anything left in the town for less than retail price. I'm prepared for more disappointment, if it has to happen...


Wednesday, February 12, 2014

And, WHOOSH!!!

I was sitting outside two group sessions today, listening to what was going on in music therapy as sessions were led by my interns, when, WHOOSH, my creative spark returned.

I've been writing quite a bit about my recent lack of creativity, but I knew that it would return at some point. This flood of creativity was a bit surprising. I was expecting that there would be a gradual return. This was not gradual at all. It was more like a dam bursting and all the floodwaters sweeping through the spaces in my brain.

I'm currently hoping that it wasn't a one-time thing, but I will enjoy it as it happens.

So, what does a creative rush look like for me? Today it was the creation of three therapeutic music experiences (TMEs) - lyrics and some rhythms. Every kid that I heard, saw, or interacted with during the day sparked a new verse or a new song. Whew, kids were very vocal about lots of different things - "being fair," "being cranky," "people who bother me," you name it - it started me thinking and singing and writing.

At this point, I need to sit down and flesh out my other ideas. It is time to keep feeding the creative spark so it continues to burn. I will spend some time playing with sound, creating new things, and listening to the music of others to feed my spirit and brain.

Looking forward to the next several days...

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Envisioning My Future

The biggest message that I got from the Online Conference for Music Therapy this past weekend was that I really want to define my role in the music therapy world in a way that makes sense for me and my future.


Many of the selected presentations were about mindfulness, self-care, business development, and finding our own places in the world. So, this started me thinking about my website, my wish to offer continuing music therapy education courses, and my love of making therapy tools for others to use. I also started thinking about my strengths and weaknesses when it comes to my goals in life. So, I am going to take some time to process through the things I want for myself and for my little place in the music therapy world.

Does anyone else want to join me? I'm going to hold a webinar on March 20th about Visioning Your Own Music Therapy Future to share what I've learned as well as to share the journey with other music therapists. If you are interested in joining me, please check out the website,, and look at the Webinars and Courses page for more details.

I'm starting my vision board in my art journal. I may share these thoughts here, I may not. It will be an interesting journey, I am sure.

The things I know for sure right now are that I want to stay involved with the internship committee of AMTA, I want to continue to be a member of the Board that I am on, and I want to offer courses, trainings, and products to music therapists from all over. These are things I know. The rest is up for debate...

Off to start visioning my future...

Monday, February 10, 2014

Back to the Real World

Today's post is all about random thoughts.

Yesterday, I posted about the Online Conference for Music Therapy, an event that I am involved with (up to my eyeballs, at times). Today, I am getting ready to venture out into the real world of routine, work, and leisure. I made a brief foray into the world of work yesterday when I went to my part-time job as a choir director, but today I need to get back into the swing of things at work. I've been neglecting my interns' assignments. I've been trying to keep my metaphorical head above water for the past week, and now I think I can see the shore in front of me.

All of my discussion lately about creativity drains, being overwhelmed, and the like may have come to an end. I created a new song last Thursday, and wonder of wonders, my interns remembered enough of it for me to replicate it the next day!! I will write it into Therapeutic Music Experience (TME) form soon so it is a permanent part of my TME file. Then, I will need to practice it so it becomes part of my permanent repertoire.

There is something quite fulfilling about improvising a song that turns out to be a successful experience for my clients. When a song is just right for the moment and for the client, you can feel their engagement, their interest, and their enthusiasm. It is intoxicating - something that just fuels your own desire to interact with them in a musical manner and to keep that interaction going as long as they can possibly tolerate it.

So, the plan for today is to dive into the assignments sent by my junior intern so I can be caught up for her supervision session this afternoon. Try to get to the level of interaction that I want with most of my clients, and keep my interest in music therapy alive and well within myself.

One of the recurring themes of OCMT 2014 - Beyond Borders was self-care and mindfulness. Maybe it's time for me to sit down with a vision board and restarting my vision for myself as a music therapist, business owner, and internship director. Hmmm...


Sunday, February 09, 2014

The Online Conference for Music Therapy 2014

Yesterday, the third Online Conference for Music Therapy ended. There were 17 international speakers (including 3 keynote speakers) who spoke on a variety of topics, offering many viewpoints on music therapy practice, theory, and research. It was a good conference, and I was able to remain healthy throughout the entire thing (that is a new development - last time I got horribly sick).

This conference is a labor of love for me. I enjoy the conference. I enjoy most of the people who are involved, but it takes up lots of my personal time. It is truly one of the best and worst things that I do as a therapist.

There are lots of things that go on behind the scenes of any conference, and an online conference is no different. There are decisions about when to hold the conference, what platform to use, which presentations to accept, how to train the presenters, how to send out CMTE information, and the list goes on and on and on. It is amazing how much time is sucked away when you are trying to organize an event.

Having said all that, the best thing about this conference is that it is the third. I finally feel that I am getting a handle on how to do all of this, but am often frustrated by the nuts and bolts of the situation.

I am now at the point where I am going to make a decision about staying or branching off on my own. We will see what is going to happen.

For now, though, I am pleased with the job that we have done.

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

We're Having a Snow Day

There are 7-12 inches of snow on the weather forecast, so it is time for me to head into work for an educational snow day. At my facility, our residents stay with us 24 hours a day, so when the school district cancels school, school staff members have to take over the caregiving responsibilities. So, when we have a snow day, some of us head down to work and spend the day involved in alternate activities. I am one of those people.

I like snow days - they tend to be an interesting change in pace, but they REALLY stress out many of my clients who have diagnoses on the Autism Spectrum...the whole change in routine really messes their world up. I get to provide back-to-back music therapy sessions for all of my residential clients - things we don't usually do in music therapy. Today, for example, we are going to play jingle instruments and talk about music history. For the littler ones, we will sing some silly songs. It means several consecutive hours of music therapy, but it is well worth it.

I have the option of not coming in, but I have done this for 17 years now and like the opportunity to take time off at a later date. At this point, I have almost a week of time to take off when I want to do so. If there are more snow days (and there always are, it seems), I will get to take off all of the inservice days from here to the end of the year. I am SO looking forward to that!

So, off I go into the snow (well, the snow hasn't started yet, but it is coming!).

Off I go!