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.
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.
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.
Today I am going to link you to the guest post I wrote about my national conference experience. My post is here on Janice Lindstrom, MA, MT-BC’s site, Heartbeat Music Therapy.
Did you go to conference this year?
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.
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:
- Talk with my supervisor.
- 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.
- 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.
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.
Whom do you consider to be your boss? The person who is most necessary in my work is the client. If our relationship is not working and not progressing, then I need to re-evaluate what I am or am not doing. This is not to say that the therapeutic relationship is easy, smooth, or fun. But there is hopefully progress in it.
Who is your boss?
Sometimes I think of my writing droughts as a period of inhalation. I had a great professor who once talked about the “incubation period” in a process. At the time, I was writing a paper. Really, it was that I wasn’t writing the paper that was worrying me. This professor said I might think of my not-writing not so much as procrastination but as incubation. Perhaps I was compiling ideas or sorting thoughts. This summer, instead of writing, I was surviving; I didn’t have the energy, creative or otherwise, to write. Maybe I was inhaling, sucking in what I could to get on with it all. Maybe I’m starting to let out some. I might be exhaling for a bit.
We’ll wait and see.
I’m back. We’re back. Everyone is back.
I had to take the past two weeks away from the site because I had to get some administrative work done and then my whole household was sick most of last week. I’m feeling about 95% now, and the rest of the family is up and running again.
I had a fantastic evening with some fellow music therapists here in the Minneapolis and St. Paul area; we had our monthly peer group meeting. I was pleased to meet three new people, and I’m already looking forward to next month’s get-together.
I wrote up a post on Michelle Erfurt’s site that was published a few days ago. I shared my self-care project. Find the post here.
Yesterday I started to read some of Tony Wigram’s article, “Music Therapy Assessment: Psychological assessment without words,” published in Psyke & Logos in 2007. I’ve been working with instrumental responses with some of my clients, but also, of course, with their vocal responses. Wigram cites J. Alvin’s list on vocal responses to include, “evaluating the significance of the voice as a revelation of personality,” as well as “evaluating the placement, projection and quality of the voice” and “control of pitch and intonation” (Psyke & Logos, 2007, 28, 339). I absolutely do these things. Nearly all of my clients do not use speech, and I consider the way they use their voice (even if that use is very limited).
How do you consider responses? Do you look at one — instrumental, vocal, or behavioral — with more weight?