Word of the Week: RESEARCH

Research is a key aspect of the music therapy profession, especially since it continues to be a growing field! In order to find better ways to treat clients and make progress in music therapy, we rely on research. Many music therapy professionals and music therapy students are members of AMTA (American Music Therapy Association), which provides yearly access to music therapy journals. Two journals are quite prevalent in the field: The Journal of Music Therapy and Music Therapy Perspectives.

As music therapy students, we are frequently conducting research projects for classes and practicum, but it’s important to carry those research habits beyond the classroom into the field! I’m already getting into the habit of planning my daily sessions, but it is important to find research to back up the REASON for each music therapy application. This word of the week was a nice reminder for me to keep up with the research skills I developed in undergrad!


Word of the Week: SUCCESS

ImageAs I pulled this word, I immediately thought about John Wooden’s pyramid of success.  Growing up playing basketball, and eventually playing in college, I always looked up to John Wooden as a coach and source of inspiration.  In this TEDTalks interview, John Wooden shares some of the advice he gave his players on the difference between winning and succeeding.

In music therapy, I always try to think about having successful sessions as a by-product, and never a goal.  It is challenging to differentiate success as a therapist, and success for your client/clients.   In the end, the best way to look at success is with profound simplicity.  Did I bring out the best in myself?  Did I give my client/clients the opportunity to bring out the best in themselves?

– Hilary White

Word of the Week: ENDURANCE

I drew this word of the week during a very appropriate time! I am now shifting from co-treating and taking data to planning and leading music therapy sessions on my own. My mindset is changing, and so is my endurance level. Going to school for music therapy takes one type of endurance, but actually practicing music therapy takes another type completely! Many music therapists experience something called “burnout”- it turns out that devoting your time and energy to other individuals can take a toll on your soul and mind after a while! I found this blog post, from MT-BC Roia Rafieyan’s blog The Mindful Music Therapist, to be a nice exploration on the reasons for MT burnout. In her blog, Roia also mentions this article by Ryan Howes, which gives insight to psychotherapy burnout, and ways to cope. It makes sense that while we put time and energy into the well-being of others, it is important to take care of ourselves too. I hope to keep these things in mind as I pursue my career in music therapy!


Word of the Week: COMMUNICATION

Everyone uses communication skills.  How we differ is in the effectiveness of our communication skills.  As I grow in music therapy, I have noticed how each individual tries to communicate with and without music.  It is human nature to tell each other stories.  I found this article very interesting, and it surely embraces the idea of how we make connections through personal stories.  The challenge as music therapists is telling stories through music, especially with people who are non-verbal.

–  Hilary White