Yesterday morning, I thought to ask my Columbia area twitter followers and facebook friends for their questions about music therapy.
I didn’t get a huge response, but I’m going to chalk that up to the fact that I am all about EDUCATING about what I do! So, what kind of questions did I get?
If you haven’t met Dick, his middle name is eloquence. To answer Dick’s question, it depends on a variety of factors. The biggest one is how much education they have received about music therapy! Just like with anything, some professionals have preconceived notions about music therapy and what it is before they get to experience it. On the flip side of the coin, I’ve run into many ‘traditional’ therapists who are gung-ho and excited to be learning about music therapy.
The majority of ‘traditional’ therapists (in my experience) who know about music therapy are very supportive of it and will frequently make referrals. Music therapy is constantly growing its pool of quantitative research and gaining ground in our recognition as an effective therapeutic service as a result.
I loved this question for two reasons: 1) I was able to redirect back to a previous post on the topic and 2) mental health was my first out of school area of work. When it comes to mental health, I’ve worked with a flood of diagnoses: depression, anxiety, anger, psychotic disorders, mood disorders, personality disorders, neurologic conditions, ADHD, and the list goes on. Music therapy is phenomenal in that it enables the client to have a voice they might not have had before (or been comfortable using). Through music, we can explore feelings, causes, and it is completely safe. There isn’t the struggle to come up with words unless wanted, you can use someone else’s words, or just play music. In addition to this expression of emotions, music therapy is able to help with issues of self-esteem, decision making, team work and social skills, and any other areas of functioning that may be impacted by mental illness.
Music Therapy is what we call a cradle to grave profession. We work with people in all areas of life and with all types of abilities. Music Therapists have worked in hospitals, schools, prisons, day care facilities, nursing homes, and more. We work with children in the NICU, those with developmental delays, mental illness, physical impairments, neurologic damage and traumatic brain injury, those with dementia, those in pain, and those at the end of life. What we do is we use music to address a variety of goals areas based on each person we work with. Objective like tying shoelaces, eating a variety of foods, expressing themselves verbally, and interacting with the therapist are just a few examples of the many outcomes we try to achieve with music.
Do you have any questions you want answered about music therapy? Ask in the comments!