Thursday, February 03, 2011

Okay, therapy time.

I'm learning so much about myself and my views on being a therapist are changing, so I need to write it down. Why not here? Some of you may not be interested or may not even understand what I'm going through or talking about, so I applaud you if you make it through this entire post. :)

First off, even though it has only been two weeks that I've been doing sessions at Avalon, I have realized, more than ever that I love geriatrics. That is for sure the place I want to go for my internship and the population I want to work with as a music therapist. I know I've said this before and I probably sound like a broken record, but it's so true. Not that I'm not learning so much from the girls at Avalon already, but geriatrics is where I want and NEED to be in the long term.

Second, I need therapy. I know how insane that sounds (a therapist needing therapy) and I'm chuckling just writing about it. But I now understand what Maureen (our department director) meant when she said that you need to do your own work while you're working with clients. You deal with so much from each client, hearing their stories and their struggles and it can really take a toll on you as a therapist if you do not have proper means in which to process it. So, meeting with a therapist would be a great way for me to process what I help my clients process.

Third, my views of the client-therapist relationship have been a bit skewed. While there are supposed to be boundaries between the client and therapist and lines that are not crossed, that does not translate into me being "rigid". I must be "authentic" and totally "me" when I am interacting with my clients. Showing my true self to my clients allows them to more fully trust me. It's how I build rapport with them. I used to have this vision of what a therapist is supposed to be...practically perfect in every way. What I forgot to remember is the "practically" part. Too much focus on the "perfect" is so not correct or even healthy for me or my clients. I'm so not even perfect and I will never be that way. I'm striving towards perfection and that is what's important. (Sound familiar? Relating to the gospel?) That brings me to my last realization...

Music Therapy is like the gospel. Every person is searching for something greater and higher in their lives, at least those that are in therapy. It is my responsibility to lead them to it. Now, that something may not be the gospel of Jesus Christ, but it is something just as important. Call it what you will, but I feel like being a therapist is a way to bring people closer to Christ, it just may be labeled as something else. I don't have to be afraid of associating the two together anymore. Now, there are boundaries involving religion and the therapeutic process and I can't and should never force my belief system on any of my clients, but in my own way I can help them come closer to finding that higher and greater power that fuels their lives. I can help them reach that cathartic moment when it all makes sense and change occurs. There is a reason for the Spiritual Domain being a part of assessment and treatment plans. Many times, it can and will fuel how, when, and where the client will lead the sessions. Absolutely beautiful I tell ya.

There it is. Thanks for listening folks.


  1. That's exactly how I felt at Avalon. Except I would have anxiety attacks before each session! I remember after each session I would be like "Give me back my kids! I work with kids!" You are handeling it better than I did. So bravo! :)

    I have also felt that way about mt and the gospel. That we are helping our clients come to realize a little bit more of their potential and especially their worth. That they are a valued member of something bigger than themselves and there is a lot of wonderful things about each person. I tried to see my clients as Heavenly Father saw them, and always when I did that I felt such love for them. Which is why working with my precious kids is perfect for me. I feel like I am most capable of helping those kids feel valued, more than any other population. Isn't mt just wonderful? Plus, I'm selfish I work with some of Heavenly Father's choicest most pure spirits. :)

  2. I love your thought about MT and the gospel. I always thought the perfect job would be a MT for the church because then obviously religion would be part of it, but I like how you said it. It is exactly how I feel.

    You're awesome. How I wish we could have been practicum partners!