A Quick-Guide to Better Self Care

There are hundreds, if not thousands, of posts that tell us all the different ways to practice self care. And while there are absolutely some great ideas on how to show yourself some well-deserved lovins, sometimes these posts lose focus of the most important piece of the puzzle…. YOU!!

So before you fall into the rabbit hole of Pinterest posts that tell you how you should be self-caring, find out what really speaks to your mind, body, and soul.

Maybe exercising isn’t your thing (ME ME ME), but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other ways to take care of your body! Eat a healthy meal or take a nap!

Don’t like reading? Watching The Office before bed is PERFECTLY fine, too.

However, it’s important to be intentional and avoid the trap of…

pseudo-self care! [insert audible audience gasp]

Pseudo-self care is the jealous third cousin, twice removed, of true and genuine self-care. It disguises itself as self-care but it is a small, temporary fix to a a larger underlying issue. If you’ve got a lot of work to do, binge-watching Once Upon A Time probably isn’t going to make that stress go away. If anything, it may take up so much of your time and increase your stress levels in the end.


Remember, “Self-healing is productive while self-indulging is counterproductive.” This is quoted from a self-care blog by Leslie Santana (the link is at the end of this post!)

My point is…

  1. Your self-care doesn’t need to be Instagram worthy, as long long as it takes care of you, and 2. be intentional.

Here’s a worksheet to help you start thinking and get started with a plan!



PDF attached below!

I LoveME



Songwriting Made Simple

Songwriting can be an effective tool in music therapy, no matter the population or age group. Songs can be used to teach social concepts, process a difficult situation, learn material like a phone number/address, and countless other ways. Though there are songs out there that can apply to some client situations, making a song directly applicable and original to the client is important. For those with little songwriting experience, this may seem like a daunting or intimidating task. However, there are some basic tools and tips that can be a helpful starting point when first starting to song-write in sessions.

First it is important to clarify the goal of the songwriting, and that will help define how the song can be written. Is it the process of writing the song that’s important? Is the goal to teach information? Is the goal self-expression? These are all questions that can be asked prior to deciding how the song will be written. The therapist can compose the song alone and bring it into the session to teach it, the song can be mostly written by the therapist with structured help from the client, it can be a collaborative, 50/50 process, or the client can direct the songwriting process with support and minimal help from the therapist. For example, when using a song to teach important information like an address, it may be better to compose it ahead of time and introduce the completed song in the session.

The song itself can be a piggy back song, a parody, a mnemonic device, or a completely original song. Piggyback songs are songs that have melodies of already existing, familiar tunes, but the words are changed by the therapist. Parodies are similar, with melodies of existing songs, but the words are generated by the client and it can have a comedic effect. A mnemonic device is used to teach information like a phone number, so it is typically a simple melody that can be chunked/chained, and move from the short term to long term memory. When writing an original song, the lyrics, melody and harmony should be kept simple, straightforward, and age-appropriate.  Keeping the goal in mind here is also important to select the appropriate songwriting technique.

Piggyback songs are my favorite to use in sessions right now. For one of my clients, I recently changed the lyrics to “Twinkle Twinkle” for a song we use to work on the push bells as a warm up for typing on a keyboard. The lyrics are “*name* can play the bells just right; playing the bells will help me type. When there’s a word I want to spell, I can practice with the bells. *name* can play the bells just right; playing the bells will help me type.” She loves it because it is a familiar melody, it says her name, and the words explain why we are doing that exercise. These songs can be fun and motivating for clients, but it is important to keep in mind that some clients may get frustrated if the words to their favorite song get changed. In this instance it may be good to use a song that the client is familiar with, just not their favorite song.

To read more about how songwriting can be used in music therapy settings, check out this blog http://www.makejoyfulmelodies.com/blog/3-ways-i-use-songwriting-in-music-therapy/. If you’re in the process of songwriting and having trouble, check out this blog about overcoming songwriters’ block https://musictherapyconnections.org/2016/07/9-tips-for-overcoming-songwriting-blocks/.


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Sources: Angela Neve Meier, M.M., MT-BC, NMT  http://www.themusictherapycenter.com/?page_id=5624

I Get by With a Little Help from the Apple Store

As technology continues to grow and evolve, we as music therapists must keep up with the many ways we can adapt and utilize new apps, programs, and products in our sessions. Being a young music therapy intern, I grew up utilizing technology, and I enjoy learning about new and innovative products or apps to complement what I’m doing in sessions. However, it can be a difficult challenge for parents of kiddos using technology or therapists who didn’t grow up using technology to learn the ins and outs of this constantly changing tech environment. There are countless apps that can be motivating, challenging, and add something different in sessions, but sometimes that learning curve can scare parents or therapists away from utilizing them.

Our team recently attended an Apple Store workshop, and the learnings and experiences were wonderful.  The Apple Store puts on daily workshops to help members of the community learn about and explore their apps and products. The workshop we attended was based heavily on garageband, a free app that comes already installed on the iPad. The techs took us through the app step by step, explaining the features and different ways we could utilize it for our clients.

Some other workshops Apple does are Parental Visibility, Apple ID and iCloud, Photo Projects, and many others. The parental visibility workshop covers family sharing, guided access, home-sharing, and anything else related to parental control. This is a great resource for parents of kiddos using AACs for communication, as well as therapists who want to have a better understanding of these features on theirs and their clients’ devices.

Apple Store workshops are a free and accessible way to learn more about ways to implement technology into a music therapy practice, or to better understand the technology you are already using every day. To find out Apple Store Workshops happening in your area or to look into setting up one of your own, check out https://www.apple.com/today/.


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