I am working with two clients who have both, over the past few weeks, been really interested in writing and illustrating. One client created a short songbook, complete with his own illustrations. Half of the songs are original, and one is even in another language (his stuffed animal’s). The other client is now on chapter three of what seems to have the potential for being a multi-chaptered story, as she calls it.
With both of theses clients, I am fully supportive of their exploring other creative modalities. I bring in the music part of our therapy by asking how one of the characters sound, and then encouraging the use of an instrument. I do this in different ways with either client, of course. I am impressed by the dynamic quality of the story that one of the client writes. I also love the creativity that the other brings to his own songs. Clients like these are ever-amazing me.
I wonder if any of you have ever paired music with creative writing. How did you do it?
The next peer supervision group meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, May 22, at 7:00 PM.
We meet to support each other anywhere we’re stuck clinically; we meet to share songs we’re using with our clients; we meet to make music together; and we meet to share ideas, resources, and thoughts on technology that we’re using.
Please feel free to contact me directly or find me on Twitter (@soundmattersmt) or Facebook if you’re a board-certified music therapist in the Twin Cities who would like to attend.
As much as I enjoy and appreciate themes, I’ve never been one to work inside them. This being said, the “Monday matters” posts are an attempt to focus myself on a topic throughout my working week.
Finding consistency clinically
I’ve been working with two different populations over the past year or more. I work with groups of young children, ages infant to five, and I work with children and adults with developmental disabilities. Providing consistency plays a role in my work with both of these populations. With the children, my hope is to instill a structure that begins with an opening song, then moves into vocalizing and/or singing, then movement, instrument play, and closes with a similar closing song from week to week. In working with my other clients, my idea of consistency is personalized per the needs of each client. Some clients need a more rigid routine than others, and providing them some flexibility and autonomy inside that routine is sometimes a challenge I have. Other clients always request a certain song that I consistently provide. However I think the most important way in which I am consistent with these clients is that I try my hardest to be present, be open, and be aware each time I see them. These are important factors in my practice of consistency.
Finding consistency professionally
I could be doing more here. But, I’m trying to be consistent about organizing the peer supervision group here in Minneapolis. We’ve been meeting regularly since I was in my internship. I could definitely be working more toward CEUs and trainings, but at this point, I’m not.
I wonder about the ways you find consistency in your work week, either with clients or in business.
In the next couple of months, I’m planning to add a logo to my site, change the layout and look of my site, and possibly start sending out newsletters. All in time for summer, where things will be slower until the arrival of our first child. Hopefully by July, all will be changed, and set for more change. We’ll see how it goes!
I drive a lot. I try to write all of my progress notes between clients and sites, and to do that, I use my iPad. Just in case you out there who are in private practice and who drive do not know about Evernote, I’ll take this moment to say that it’s been really handy for me. I have a number of notebooks where I keep my categorized notes, and they’re all filed and synchronized between my iPad, iPhone, and laptop. That’s it. That’s the most appealing aspect of it– its synchronization.
Though I’ve had my Square account for months, I’m just now finding it useful. I find a satisfaction in going to the bank and depositing checks, but it does take time and scheduling. Square frees all of that up, and deposits on the next day.
I wonder what other apps or methods you private practitioners use for notes, paperwork, and payment.
Patience happens to be both difficult for me to practice and elemental in working as a music therapist.
Finding patience clinically
One of the clients I see every week has drawn out of me a need to practice the patience with which I struggle more often than not. To be clear, I loosely define patience as listening to the client and supporting the client in the time frame he or she chooses. I try not to expect a behavior or a reaction or a vocalization in any given circumstance. However, I am not always aware enough to realize that what has happened with a client historically isn’t necessarily going to happen again. Two of the last sessions I’ve had with one particular client has proven that. Instead of enthusiastically engaging with an instrument as is normally the case, this client met the instrument and me with silence. Silence has its own set of challenges for me, and though I’m learning to embrace it more and more, I think I still find it threatening. Doing something seems to be so important, and silence doesn’t look as though something is being done. But it is. And in these silences, I had to remind myself of patience and presence, and being open to the client.
Finding patience professionally
Now that I am more than halfway through my pregnancy, I’m having to practice patience in determining my case load. I’ve decided I’ll need to pare down in some areas but build up in others. These decisions induce a lot of anxiety– again, I feel that I need to have it all done already– but on a very regular basis I have to remind myself to be patient.
I wonder if there is anyone else who struggles with practicing patience, clinically or professionally.
I have always wanted to be an avid reader. I introduced An Article Monthly Project months ago, and I did find that making the time to read the articles was satisfying. But, it did not last.
One good book I am reading (in pieces) is The Dynamics of Music Psychotherapy, edited by Kenneth Bruscia. I’m quite sure many music therapists either own it or have heard of it, but it seems to be a good one to go back to whenever I so need.
If there so happens to be someone out there who wants to discuss any of the chapters, I’m all for it.
Over the past few months I have been shifting the way I think of music therapy and my philosophy of my practice from outcome-oriented to process-oriented. These months have brought such an interesting struggle. I am really fortunate to have found a clinical supervisor who is supporting me in this transition. This change has introduced a number of obstacles, none of which I would be able to navigate successfully without support. All sorts of questions have arisen for me as I’m working through the change, and I am led to believe that the questions aren’t ever going to come to an end. They just may be of a different nature. I think the questions are what is so appealing as well as what is so scary about process-oriented therapy.
This week I’ve come to decide that I need to find my connection in regard to the way I’m practicing, and to recognize that it is itself a process. I have experienced a share of challenges to this orientation, and though I believe in the validity of music therapy as a whole, I cannot switch off the way I provide the best care so that I may sidestep an obstacle. Sometimes connecting to a philosophy such as I am doing now is difficult. But, I already feel more genuine as a therapist, which will in turn benefit my clients.
Here’s hoping that the path keeps winding, but at least smoothes out a little!
I wonder if anyone else has ever had a transition like this.