Finding connection clinically
I had one client today with whom I had a lot of trouble connecting. I brought her favorite instruments. Though she is non-verbal, she is often quite vocal, and she seemed to be engaged vocally at the beginning of the session. Then, she turned away. She didn’t take any instrument to play, nor did she use a certain iPad app that she’s historically seemed to love. I asked her to sign “all done,” or to tell me she was through with certain experiences in another specific way. She did neither. Most of the session, she kept her body turned away from me.
Writing about it and reviewing it now, I think I would’ve best served her by listening to her more actively. Like I said, she was vocalizing at the opening of the session. Not until we had only 15 or so minutes in our session did I truly engage with her vocally. Then, she turned back toward me. Then, she made some eye contact. Only then did I feel we had connected. I believe she felt more heard at that point.
Those first minutes were difficult. I attempted to be silent in order to see if she would choose an instrument without any kind of perceived pressure from me. I attempted asking her questions and giving her two ways to answer. But, in the end, our connection was fused when we sang together.
Finding connection professionally
I have hopes for the peer supervision group we have here in the Twin Cities. Those hopes include having a stable space where we can come together as professionals and ask our questions and receive honest advice or validation. I also hope that we use music to improvise together, to share songs, and also to address specific needs that are happening in our clinical lives. Perhaps at some point we can host speakers. Finding this type of professional connection would be so very beneficial, at least for me, being in private practice.
I wonder if anyone out there has anything to say about finding connection.
I’m writing in terms of clinical and professional connection, but I’d love to hear input on other kinds of music therapy-related connection.