Welcome, welcome, welcome!

Hello again, all.
I’m writing to you almost two years after the last post was published.
I (probably) won’t take two years between posts from here on out. I’m hoping to post every Thursday.
I’m sharing an article with you that I had published in Music Therapy Clinician: Supporting reflective clinical practice. Strangely enough, the article was written about my time taking a break from work, and I’m sharing it with you while I’m re-entering. Regardless, please read it as you’re able. The article is “Getting Out to Get Back In.” Music Therapy Clinician: Supporting reflective clinical practice. Please comment on this post if you’ve ever had a similar experience; I’d love to connect.

New project

I am really excited to announce that my colleague and friend Tim Oesau, MT-BC and I have launched our own podcast! The podcast is “Thoughts on Music Therapy,” and our hope is to speak about music therapy in the news as well as conduct interviews with creative arts therapists who may or may not work with music therapists. You can find the first episode at Thoughts on Music Therapy. We soon will have a more populated website, but for now, please e-mail me at erin.lunde@soundmattersmusictherapy.com with comments and/or questions. Thank you!

My thoughts on organization

I remember when I wrote something to the effect of, “I’ll post my thoughts on organization on January 26,” which would have been this past Monday. What a funny joke! I meant “[the week of] January 26.”

What does it mean to you to organize? Is it a wholly physical experience? How do you do it? Is it always a process, or do you ever feel it’s achieved?

Man, I struggle with this, day and night. I have tried a number of methods and tricks to help me organize and stay on top of all of my calendars and stuff. I have always abandoned these methods and tricks after a few days because I don’t see enough progress; I am a perfectionist– I am absolutely all-or-nothing, black-or-white (which is so baffling, because I work in a process-oriented approach). I’ve gone from writing up daily schedules that outline what I think I should do in half-hour increments. But, then I feel like a failure when I get up with my son at 7:00, instead of get up before him at 6:00– in other words, I almost always feel behind within the first hour of the day. This being said, the 10% of the time when I do follow the schedule, I feel absolutely powerful. And then I wake up the following day.

My experience with organization is not wholly physical. I have to have time set aside in my head to do it, which is the problem. I need to make it rote. I try Janice Lindstrom’s trick about using a website, a tool, to guide me in organizing and clearing things away on a daily basis. But a few days later, when I see that the first area I addressed is riddled with clutter once again, I feel defeated and stop. I’m really excited about the quote Lisa Skarbakka shared, “creative minds are rarely tidy.” I take that to heart.

I met recently with Katie Lee of The Small Change Project. We determined that paper– receipts, MAIL, invoices, etc.– are my biggest trouble. What I should do is set aside a couple of hours every week to scan and shred. Sounds good. But I have yet to do it.

At the national conference in November, during one of the business owners’ mixers, I met a music therapist who is also a mom. I complained, as I am wont to do, about my trouble keeping my life in line, and she said that essentially I just have to embrace it. Is that because I’m a mom? Or a business owner? Or both? Or because I’m “creative?”

I don’t have any answers for myself. I suppose I should trust the process that is the 24 hours in a day– the day will start, the day will end. With or without my life in line.

Guest post: Janice Lindstrom

This week’s post comes to you from Janice Lindstrom, MA, MT-BC.

What does it mean to you to organize? Is it a wholly physical experience? How do you do it? Is it always a process, or do you ever feel it’s achieved?

When I am “organized”, it means that surface clutter is mostly put away, there is a reasonable plan for my day, and I feel productive. For me, it’s a mental and physical experience. When my home is in order and my schedule is do-able, I can think better and I feel better. My outside environment reflects my inner mind. So when there is chaos in my home, I feel lost and adrift or irritable and frustrated. I think it is always a process to stay organized. When my routines are in place, my home and thoughts flow better. When they aren’t, I get stuck, mentally and physically. The best system I’ve found for staying organized, while being nice to myself, is through FlyLady.net. I am able to use her principles in other areas of my life, like my music therapy business, and finding that mythical work-life balance.

I have plans to share some tips that work for me for organization, that are music therapy-related, on my website, Heartbeatmusictherapy.net. I haven’t yet figured out my routine for this yet, but it’s something I’m passionate about, so it will manifest very soon!

Janice works in private practice in Dallas, Texas. You likely know her from her radio show, The Music Therapy Show with Janice Lindstrom.

Thank you, Janice!

Welcome to the new year

I don’t make resolutions to speak of, so I don’t have anything specific to focus on for the next 12 months. I’m going to break down my professional-life goals into monthly attempts at achievement. My achievement attempt for January is, no shocker, “organize.” My desk is a nightmare (I really have nightmares about it), I dislike most of the templates I use for documentation, and in a much broader stroke, I still don’t feel that I’ve adequately wrapped my head around my definition of music therapy. What do I do? I have a few definitions that I like, but I’d like to hone my self-identification and further strengthen my stance in a theoretical orientation. I often wonder if I’ll ever feel that I know fully who I am as a therapist (or person), but perhaps that’s not a bad thing.

Writing prompt

What does it mean to you to organize? Is it a wholly physical experience? How do you do it? Is it always a process, or do you ever feel it’s achieved?

Write up your thoughts. Send them to me by January 15 and let me know if you’d like them published here. I’ll have mine up on January 29.

Year end

This year has been quite dynamic. I’m still interested in collaborating with other creative arts therapists in writing projects. Next year, a colleague of mine and I are launching a really neat, fun, hopefully interesting and educational project that will be coming out in January. I will be sure to post more about it here, once we have the details entirely considered.

Happy holidays, all.

Monday matters: A saw, a theremin, and a peer group

A few Minneapolis-area music therapists met again tonight for our peer support group meeting. I was thrilled by the get-together for numerous reasons, two of which being the musical saw and the theremin. We make it a point to play and/or sing together at each meeting. I brought my violin, and was excited to continue my re-acquaintance with it. We talked about a few subjects– music-centered music therapy goal writing, the national conference, finding motivation to practice instruments, and the new songwriting group that has formed. If you are a board-certified music therapist in Minneapolis, St. Paul, or the surrounding areas, and are wanting to connect with other music therapists here, let me know.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday matters: Losing clients

I have been a recipient of clinical supervision for about two years now. Because I do not work with other music therapists, and because I was starting to burn out working the way I was working, I found a clinical supervisor with whom I have been speaking on a weekly basis. In many of my conversations with her, I ask her for advice, support, sometimes validation, a new direction to take, and often how the quality of the music being shared between my client and me is indicative of progress or resistance (which is not to say that resistance is not progress). Over the past year, I spent most of my time with my supervisor talking and sometimes playing through my work with a particular client. Finally, last week, this client really opened up and I felt an enormous shift in the session. I was both electrified (this is how therapy really feels) and terrified (repeat: this is how therapy really feels) by this change. I believed in our process at that point– that all of the work and supervision and consideration regarding this client mattered. We had moved into another level of work.

The next day, the client was pulled from music therapy because apparently this person’s other therapists reported progress, too, and inexplicably for that reason, music therapy was no longer needed.

I could not believe it. I still cannot.

Here are three steps I’m taking to deal with this blow:

  1. Talk with my supervisor.
  2. Write about it, create about it, play about it. Consider my feelings about this abrupt termination. Recognize that this was a therapeutic relationship in which I was a member, and that I can be upset by the fact that my opinion about this sudden termination didn’t change what happened.
  3. Find peace with it somehow. We’ll see how this turns out.

I wonder what steps I’m missing. This is the hardest termination I have experienced yet.

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Looking for a peer support group? If you’re in the Minneapolis or St. Paul area, and you are a board-certified music therapist, feel free to connect with me and I will let you know about our group.