Okay...Not What I Expected, But Into the Fray Anyway...

I am not in control - that is obvious to everyone BUT me!
Yesterday was our "here's what we're going to do" meeting at work.

We are now considered "essential healthcare workers" and will be continuing business much like usual. There will be some differences - they are trying to figure out how we will be doing planning at home and about a third of our clients will not be attending school services at all in this time frame, but the rest of it is just as usual.

Except - our schedules are being changed by people who have no idea how music therapy works. 

Except - my intern is no longer allowed on the grounds because she is a volunteer.

Except - no can seem to make a decision about ANYTHING that lasts longer than an hour.

Except - I now have to have my work email on my personal phone which is something I REALLY do NOT want to do.

I am trying, just like everyone else that I know right now, to make sense out of what our jobs look like now. I will be doing the same old sort of music therapy that I always do but with less students and more available staff members. Okay, that's not bad. I will spend a part of my workweek at home rather than driving to work. Okay, that's not bad either. Today, at least, I don't have to be at work until 9am (which means that I'll start to get the traveling itch in about 45 minutes and won't be able to stay home longer because I MIGHT be late if I wait until an hour before I'm supposed to report to work. 

I am experiencing high levels of fear and anxiety about this entire situation - and I'm not sure why I'm so wrapped up in what is going on. I don't like being out of control of things and this is the very definition of a situation that I cannot control...AT ALL! Maybe that's why this is so difficult for me. Add to that all the people who are approaching paranoia about germs and the other group that just doesn't really seem to care, and I feel like I am constantly being thrown from one side of the pendulum to the other without any sort of ability to sort out my own thoughts and feelings.

Here's what I know about this entire situation.

First, I was starting to get excited about trying digital interaction with my clients. I had spent lots of time during the past week trying to figure out a plan for how I could interact with them through the internet. Second, I knew how I would use my intern and practicum students to give them some experience in how to interact and engage with clients during this uncertain time. Third, I was prepared for the decision that was made yesterday and shared with us all, but I really wish that we had been told that information before yesterday. I would have not bothered to get excited about the possibilities.

There are some good things that are happening here. Music therapy (and myself, as the music therapist) is deemed to be an "essential" healthcare service in the viewpoint of my facility administrators. That's nice to hear - some validation that what I do has importance to my clients. I know it was more of a "Well, we can't let SOME people get paid for not coming in" thought than a "music therapy is important for the health and well-being of our clients" thought, but I'll take it! Music therapy is part of the "essential healthcare" of our clients!

I am trying to be creative in my work. I am thinking so far outside the internship box right now that I think I may be able to completely change what future interns do as part of their training with me. Maybe I can reduce their workload to four days of live work and one day of telehealth type work. Hmmm. I'm starting to put my creativity in that direction rather than in how music therapy will work for my clients. 
Necessity is the mother of invention. - Plato
How right you are, Plato. I have to do things differently, so I have to create new ways of doing the old things. I can do that. I've done it before, and I will continue to do that.

I think that may be where most of my disappointment comes from - the fact that I don't get to jump into the brave new world of digital interaction and telehealth when everyone else gets to. I get to do the same old thing - something that I know many music therapists are craving right now - the same old thing. Perhaps I will venture out into this world myself just because it stimulates my brain in ways that other things haven't lately. Who knows!

Well, that "time to get going" itch is starting (about 15 minutes earlier than I thought it would be), so it's time to sign off here and start getting ready for my work day. I'm not sure what it will bring, but I am going to try to find my positivity and work towards a brave new future.

Thinking of all of you out there in that brave new future as well.

Hey, if you want to, I'm hosting a music therapy virtual connection group on Mondays. I'll post information about how to join us at 7pm Central time here and on my facebook page, twitter, and instagram accounts. Let's support each other through all of this - by the way, it will always be free to join us!

Gotta go be "essential." 


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