Hello everyone! I can’t believe it but I am already at the end of my internship! This has been a goal that I have had for so many years, and I am so excited to finally be at the culmination of my education! I am so thankful for this experience that I have had, and so grateful to take all of my learnings with me.
Here are my top ten learnings from this time:
1. Spending an entire session on sensory integration and calming down is not a waste of a session!
I know so many clients that need to feel centered and calm when it comes to sensory stimulation and that absolutely nothing will get done if they are over or under stimulated. It is just as important to help our clients get what they need at that moment, and learn how to calm themselves down and self-regulate. This is not a waste of time!
2. Growth happens in the scariest places
I remember the first time I was asked to cover a group for another therapist all on my
own. I was terrified and not sure if I would be able to do it! I remember feeling insecure
and nervous about my capabilities, but in the end the session went amazing! It is such a good feeling when you step out and try something new, and it goes amazing! It brought me so much confidence both in the skills I already had, but also in the benefit of trying new things. I love seeing how I am now confident leading sessions for clients I do not
know, because I have had the opportunity to step out of my comfort zone.
3. The power of themed sessions!
I never thought about using themed sessions outside of specific holidays before internship, but it has turned out to be one of the best ways for me to plan! It makes it so much easier to narrow down your session ideas, keeps things unique and interesting for your clients, and helps with things like reality orientation for your clients and understanding what is going on in the world around them.
4. The brain is incredible
WOW there is so much I didn’t know about the brain before coming to internship! Learning about neurologic music therapy and the power of music in the brain has been astounding. Neuroscience is amazing. There is so much we don’t know yet, but there is so much value in understanding the research behind what you are doing so that you can use those tools to focus on exactly what will work for your clients. I have learned so much about the brain and how I can use this to directly influence change and growth for my clients!
5. The power of singing a capella
As a vocalist, I knew my voice would be a strength of mine in sessions, but I did not realize how useful of a tool this would be, mostly because I don’t have to carry an instrument around with me when I sing! My instrument is a part of me, which makes it so easy to focus entirely on the client and what they may need in the moment. Singing a capella is also so beneficial for transitions between interventions in group sessions. I have found it very effective to sing the melody of a song for a “Name that tune” exercise in between interventions. This keeps clients engaged, but keeps my hands free to gather up or pass out instruments during transitions.
6. Time Management is essential
Internship can be really overwhelming and busy, but I found that setting myself up for success with good time management was the best way to keep myself from becoming too worn out. At the start of busy days I would take a few minutes to write down the top three things I wanted to accomplish that day. From there, I would make a list of other tasks that were less essential but I still wanted to get done. By creating a strategy for my little chunks of work time throughout the day, I was able to manage my time very effectively.
7. It’s not the end of the world
It’s easy to feel frustrated or upset when a session doesn’t go as planned, but I have learned to realize that this is a time of learning, and my supervisors know that I don’t know everything! Giving myself grace and understanding when I mess up and being okay with failing has been so healthy for me during this time. It’s okay if you mess up! It’s not the end of the world! “Failing” at something is one of the best ways to learn.
8. Don’t be afraid to take action
A huge learning curve for me, especially at the start of my internship, was to trust my gut and step in if I could see a client struggling or becoming overwhelmed. If you see a client becoming overstimulated or you can see a client may become aggressive or anything of the like, especially in a group setting, trust that you have the tools to do something about it before it escalates, and have the confidence to take action!
9. Be open to change and new ideas
When I first moved to San Diego for my internship, I was positive I wanted to go back home to Washington state after I finished my internship, but as time went on I realized that I wanted to be open to more options! It is so important to learn to be open to life changes, especially in a career like music therapy that can change so quickly! Being flexible and willing to try new things in your career will take you far!
10. You can totally do it!
I remember freshman year of college hearing that I would have to do an internship after college, and it seemed daunting and impossible. It is so easy to look at the mountain in front of you and think there is no way you can do it. I learned to take it one step at a time! Even if it seems overwhelming, just take the next step towards your end goal and you will be successful! One step at a time.
Thank you for reading my blog posts for the past 6 months, I am so thankful for the opportunity to share my learnings with you!
Audrey Cosgrove, MTI