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.

Monday Matters: Seeking partners

Months have passed since I’ve written. Fortunately, though, I’m back at it (I hope). I attended my first American Music Therapy Association National Conference that concluded just yesterday, and I am home and feeling energized and somewhat overwhelmed.

I like to write. I always have. But I don’t want to be the only one who does so on my site. I want writers. (Compensation and perks can be negotiated.)

I’m going to post only once per week. At the beginning of the month, I’ll offer a writing prompt. I’d love to read what music therapy and expressive arts therapy students, interns, and professionals have to say in regard to the prompt. I’ll review the pieces, let you know my thoughts, and put it out to a different audience than you might have yourself. You might have read a guest post by Lindsay Markworth, MMT, MT-BC in the past.

Also, Sound Matters Music Therapy, LLC, is seeking qualified sub-contractors to work in the southerly suburbs of the Minneapolis area. Please contact us for details.

There is a Minneapolis-based peer group of board-certified music therapists meeting again this month. Please let me know if you have any interest.

Monday matters: Accept!

I am back to work. I am done with my maternity leave. I saw one group of kids two times this month, but aside from them, I hadn’t seen any clients until today. I was beginning to get used to having time at home with my baby. Now I have to adjust to working with a baby at home.

My theme this week is to accept, already. I have to accept that this transition is difficult and that I won’t find a routine for weeks to come, probably. Clinically speaking, I think of how my clients feel about transitioning back to working with me. Many of my clients worked with another music therapist while I was with my newborn, and the rest decided to take a break from therapy for that time period. In a session today, I worked with two clients who don’t use speech often. I had to guess and assess how they felt about my being back with them. So many of my clients have decisions made for them. I hope they are able to accept this transition easily.

I leave with a shot of my baby, already moving, moving, moving.

Consultation services now offered

I am excited to announce that Sound Matters Music Therapy, LLC is now offering consultation services to other board-certified music therapists who are interested in any or all of the following:

  • Beginning a private practice
  • Finding new resources
  • Networking opportunities
  • Peer supervision
  • Cultivating writing skills

Over the past few months, I have been approached by a number of therapists from a few different states who have a variety of questions about how to get started in one or more of these areas. I enjoy sharing information and the knowledge I have, so please contact me at or (612) 466-0227 if you have interest in any of the consultation services I offer. I look forward to meeting with you.

Join us

On February 7, a group of us will get together to report on articles of our choice. Some of these are:

“The Effect of a Music Therapy Intergenerational Program on Children and Older Adults: Intergenerational Interactions, Cross-age Attitudes, and Older Adults’ Psychosocial Well-being,” by Melita Belgrave, PhD, MT-BC; “Bereaved Parents’ Experiences of Music Therapy with their Terminally Ill Child,” by Kathryn J. Lindenfelser, Denise Grocke, and Katrina McFerran; and “Music Therapy for School-Aged Individuals with Varying Exceptionalities: A Content Analysis (1975-2009),” by Sarah B. Klein. Care to join us?

Music Therapists Unite!

I am excited that a meeting I had organized tonight went really well. I invited all of the music therapists I know personally who live in Minneapolis and its surrounding areas to get together and catch up, share knowledge, and plan for future meetings. I found a space to hold the get-together, which, unfortunately, didn’t prove to be ideal. I am so happy we got together, though.

Beyond re-connecting and sharing where we’re working and what we’re doing, we talked about CEUs, supporting each other in performance endeavors, and what we want out of this group in the future. None of us happened to be very versed in how, when, or where to obtain our CEUs, so we’ve decided that our next meeting’s big topic will be learning just that.

Ideally, we’ll have time to make music together in some fashion. Tonight, we didn’t.

Resource for activities

I feel like a real private contractor. I just spent about two and a half hours on paperwork. And I feel good about it.

I have a resource to share! What? From me? Well, it’s definitely not geared toward music therapists, but, we are creative creatures…

Because I am technically a member of the therapeutic recreation department at the care center where I work, exactly all of everything my colleagues do is related to activities. Enter Activity Connection. I’ve had opportunity to browse this resource only minimally, but I enjoy some of their visual aids and ideas. They do offer a “Music Matters” section where I found “Top 100 Songs of 1911.”

Like I said, there isn’t much having to do explicitly with music, but we can re-design some of the activities, should we want…

Have you heard of this site? Used it?

The entertainer

I have several music therapy colleagues who all enjoy performing. I am not in their company. Every Friday at my care center, we have what is called “Happy Hour,” and I am enlisted to provide the “entertainment.” Sometimes I bring my violin and will play (recently, I’ve been using it for PSE in co-facilitation with physical therapy), but a lot of the time I play guitar and sing. Almost every week I am on the first floor where the residents are in memory care and palliative care. Today, however, I played on the two higher functioning levels. The auditorium was filled on one floor and the dining room on the other. I was organized enough (I’ve done this before– the woman who usually performs is sometimes unable), but I just don’t care for the experience. I don’t really like entertaining. (This being said, today’s Happy Hours were the most fun for me.)

Do you like performing/entertaining? Do you ever have to fill this role at your workplace?