Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Last Practicum

My very last music therapy practicum will be at Avalon Hills, working with adolescents with eating disorders. Can't believe this is it before my graduation and internship (which I still have to locate).

As usual, I'm nervous about this practicum, mostly because it's with adolescents and I'm not sure what to expect in that area. What am I saying, I'm never sure what to expect for each and every practicum I fulfill, but I usually end up enjoying myself nonetheless. And I always learn A LOT.

I think I'm a little jaded from the last practicum I had because it was a difficult experience. I was working in a psych setting with adults with mental illnesses and it was intense. I learned so much but I didn't get that fulfillment after each practicum like I'm used to. I think I'm much more behavioral in my focus, not so much psychodynamic. I like seeing the results on paper as well as in person. I like being able to calculate, in numbers, charts, and graphs, the progress of clients. And I like to leave feeling like I've helped someone. It's hard to see that with mental illness because there is no "cure".

Also, from my last practicum I was with a partner that stretched me to my limits and not really in a good way. She struggled with many things, such as the English language which I think inhibited her in all other aspects of therapy. I didn't feel like we were a team, so much as she was relying on me to do everything for her. Now I'm fine with teaching and sharing my expertise with someone who has less clinical experience than I do, but we were the exact same in our practicum levels (both level 4, completing 3 practica prior). I felt alone almost every session even though she was there. And instead of us relying on each other to facilitate, I ended up turning to our supervisor each time I was unsure. It was not the best learning experience.

Now I feel like I'm just a baby, incapable of facilitating a proper session, I've become less assured of my musical and therapeutic abilities. I know I'm a bit out of practice because it's been over a year since my last truly FULFILLING practicum. I know that I just need to get back in the swing of things and I will be fine, but after last semester's craziness with my back problems, father's sickness then passing, I've been out of commission in many ways. I haven't been practicing like I should or studying like I should. I know that people will excuse that based upon the circumstances but I can't stand my procrastination any longer. This is my graduating semester! I have to get it together!

So, I'm resigned to make a change. And I'm excited for my practicum partner. Shaundra is amazing. Like, seriously. This girl is a guitar genius and songwriter, and even though I've never seen her clinical skills, I'm sure she's amazing. She just exudes calm and cool. I, on the other hand, get nervous before each session and try not to show it. And I OVERPLAN for everything, which I guess is not that bad, because you never know what may happen and you may have to pull a bunny out of a black hat (or something like that ) ;)

This will be Shaundra's 3rd practicum and she tells me that she has SO much to learn from me, but believe me, it is the other way around. I made sure to tell her that. I do feel like I have good skills to offer in the way of documentation, report-writing, and vocals. But she is going to teach me some awesome musical skills I know it. I'm loving this opportunity to work side-by-side with a guitar genie. Plus, I just love her. She rocks. We've known each other for a long time, before she went on her mission, and she's been back for about a year and is getting married soon. Lots of good and happy things happening here.

Anyway, just trying to keep it together and remember all sorts of protocols for working at this particular facility. There is a lot that you can't say or even refer to, but that's where the music will have to take over, I guess! Should be an adventure. Wish me luck!


  1. I really enjoyed Avalon, and I LOVE working with adolescents now (even though I didn't think it was for me). I highly recommend this article "From the Field: Clinical Resources for Music Therapy with Juvenile Offenders" found in Perspectives vol. 20 is. 20 2002. It is about juvenile offenders, but it offers some great intervention ideas that you can easily adapt for your population. The best of luck with your LAST practicum, and good luck finding an internship!

  2. Oh you two wil be AMAZING!!!! Oh how I wish I could be a fly on the wall and just observe your sessions, you will be so good! And besides that, you work with the YW in your ward, right? Same thing! Just picture them as your girls and prayerfully try to figure out interventions that will help them open up and also help them have fun. You two will be fabulous!

  3. I agree with both Allyson and Brianne! You and Shaundra and going to be amazing! Good luck! And I want to be updated when you figure out where you are doing your internship!

  4. Good luck! I am sure that you will do amazing - but I know that things like that are always a little stressful at the beginning. Hopefully the worrying will be the worst part and once you get into the swing of things you will have a great time!