It's a Journey: Session Strategies

As is typical for the return after a break, I am heading into my music therapy sessions for the day without a session strategy in place. I know what I am going to do with clients next week and the week after, but I have nothing ready for today.

It is time to go to session strategies and my therapeutic music experience (TME) file for some inspiration.

I am someone who has enough TMEs under my belt that I can really improvise an entire session at any time, but I feel that my sessions are much more therapeutic when there is an element of purpose behind the session strategy. Therefore, I like to make general outlines for my sessions.

When I am teaching music therapy students about sessions plans, I like to show them task analyses that include all transitions and every single piece of music that will be used during a session. Then, I tell them that any and all things on that session plan will change as soon as clients enter the session. I am the type of therapist who strives to make the TMEs meet the clients where they are in the moment. Writing session plans in the scripted manner that I was taught does not fit this perspective, but was a very good exercise to teach me how to think about TMEs and session contour. After two and a half decades of being on my own as a clinician and clinical trainer, I've found my own way of doing things, and that is OKAY!

So, what will I do when I get in front of clients today?

I will do a greeting song - I always do that. We will play some sort of instrument. We may play a game of some sort. Gross motor stations are always popular with my clients, so we'll spend some time moving. (We can't call it "dancing" or the older students won't participate. We call it "movement challenge," and everyone engages!) If a group enters and does not respond the way I think they will respond, I will rethink my session strategy. Maybe the movement challenges will be replaced with progressive muscle relaxation. Maybe not.

I have a rough strategy now. I am ready to go out into my music therapy world to run some music therapy sessions. The strategies that I have may change (probably will change), but that is okay as long as I continue to provide TMEs that address client goals and objectives.

Interested in more about my session strategy format? Search this blog for session strategy posts to find my preferred format and more about this topic. Thanks for reading!

Happy Wednesday, all!


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