Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions I hear. If these don't answer your questions, please let me know!
What is Music Therapy?
Music Therapy is a unique therapeutic experience that can help people of all ages and abilities achieve their highest potential. This profound tool is most commonly utilized with people with physical, emotional, educational, and communication needs, but can be beneficial for anyone. Music Therapy can assist with stress reduction, family cohesion and communication, and relaxation. It has also been found to be extremely beneficial throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery, and in post-natal family transition.
Your website says you specialize in grief and bereavement. Is that all you do?
While I have found a passion for working with the unique needs of people going through life transitions, loss, and grief, I have a great deal of experience working with clients who have a variety of different therapeutic needs.
Some of the clinical experience I have had through nearly 20 years of working as a music therapist include working with children and adults on the autism spectrum/autistic individuals, adults with intellectual and physical disabilities, at-risk youth, children and adults with mental health needs, adults with substance abuse disorders and dual diagnoses, adults with traumatic brain injuries, adults with post-traumatic stress disorder, adults with life-limiting illnesses (hospice), adults seeking to incorporate mindfulness techniques into their everyday life, music therapy college students, children hospitalized with a variety of respiratory disorders, adults with chronic pain, and adults with Alzheimer's and related dementias.
If you would like to know if and how music or other expressive arts can help you, your loved one, or your organization, please contact me!
How can Expressive Arts Therapies help me?
Art is uniquely motivating for many people and encourages them to become actively involved in life experiences. Expressive arts therapists use this motivation to help clients reach non-musical goals.
At HeART Journeys, each person is approached as the unique individual they are, basing all interventions and experiences on their specific strengths and needs. I work closely with each client throughout the process to establish a treatment plan, uncovering the goals that are most important to the client and finding creative solutions to those issues.
At HeART Journeys, I treat my clients as a vital member of the treatment team. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for you.
Do I need prior training in music or art to see an Expressive Arts Therapist?
Absolutely not! The most important thing to understand is that no previous training is necessary for you to benefit from my services.
First, you and I will work together to uncover what goals you want or need to work on. Then, I will offer suggestions on a treatment plan, allowing you to choose what you are most comfortable with. This treatment plan may change from session to session depending on how you are feeling each day. Each treatment plan utilizes specially designed creative experiences to assist you in reaching the goals you have determined. The experiences take into consideration your history and are designed to be success-oriented.
What makes a Music Therapist different than other therapists?
Music Therapists are highly trained as musicians and are trained in counseling techniques, psychological needs of clients, group dynamics, physical development, anatomy, and psychosocial development. Each Music Therapist has received at minimum a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and has completed an extensive internship program following graduation. Music Therapists receive national board certification (Music Therapist-Board Certified), similar to the license requirements of other therapy modalities.
Music Therapists can work on similar goals as other therapies, but utilize music interventions to achieve progress toward those goals.
Was the person who played for me in the hospital a Music Therapist?
The only way to be certain is to ask. Music Therapists hold board certification from the Certification Board for Music Therapists and assist individuals in reaching individualized goals. Many hospitals have volunteers play instruments (most frequently harps) and/or sing for patients to provide relaxation. These volunteers do not have training to process a patient's emotional or physical response to music, but provide music as a form of entertainment.
The American Music Therapy Association's January 2014 press release titled "What Music Therapy Is... And Is Not" can be helpful in continuing to clarify the difference between music therapy and music utilized in other areas.
Who do Music Therapists work with?
Professional music therapists work with a wide variety of people in a wide variety of settings. Below is a list of some of the areas in which music therapists work. Please contact me for more information for you or your loved one's specific situation and how I may be able to help.
Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Correctional & Forensic Settings
Crisis & Trauma Response
Medical Music Therapy
Mental Health Needs
Music Therapy & Music Education
Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities
The American Music Therapy Association provides several Fact Sheets with more specific information on certain populations. Please see the Links page to access those Fact Sheets.
Substance Abuse Problems
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Psychology and Counseling Services
Home Healthcare Services
Hospice and Palliative Care Services
Prenatal, Childbirth, and Postnatal Services
Caring for the Caregiver
Can everyone benefit from Music Therapy?
Music Therapy can be beneficial for many people. However, music can increase agitation and anxiety in others. Occasionally, some people will have negative memories associated with certain music, leading to extremely negative reactions.
These responses cannot always be predicted and require delicate processing and a trained therapist to work through in the moment. Music Therapists are trained in assessment and will never continue therapy if someone displays a negative or harmful response.
How do I become a Music Therapist?
Those who wish to become Music Therapists must earn a bachelor’s degree or higher in Music Therapy from an American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved program. Entrance into the program will include an audition for the School of Music and the student must declare a primary instrument.
The curriculum includes coursework in music, music therapy, biology, psychology, social and behavioral sciences, and general studies. Clinical skills are developed through 1200 hours of required fieldwork, including an internship in healthcare and/or education facilities. These experiences allow students to learn how to assess the needs of clients, develop and implement treatment plans, and evaluate and document clinical changes.
Following successful completion of education and internship, a prospective music therapist is eligible to sit for the board certification exam. Once the therapist passes the exam, they hold the designation Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) and are able to practice Music Therapy throughout the United States. The Music Therapist must complete 100 hours of Continuing Education units every five years in order to maintain their board certification.
What does a typical day as a Music Therapist look like?
This answer varies greatly depending on the Music Therapist you ask. Many Music Therapists travel to their clients' homes to provide services and spend a good deal of their day in their car. Other Music Therapists are clinic- or facility-based and their clients travel to see them, so they are able to spend more of their time in direct client care.
The type of Music Therapy the therapist provides varies greatly depending on the population being served, the client's needs, and the therapist's training. You can see a wide variety of music interventions being implemented throughout one day, including singing, playing instruments, song writing, improvisation, Guided Imagery and Music, music listening, lyric analysis, and movement to music, just to name a few.
The one thing that is the same among all Music Therapists is documentation. Every session that is provided must be documented in the client's medical chart. Goals, interventions, outcomes, and plans for future sessions are all vital parts of the therapeutic process. Time must also be left to prepare for upcoming sessions - session planning, learning new songs, creating visual aids, sterilizing instruments, etc.
How much do you charge? Do you accept insurance?
Each service provided has its own fee. Some services are based on the amount of time spent in service (i.e., hourly rate) while others are a flat rate. I am happy to discuss your specific therapeutic needs and possible financial limitations. I do my best to work with you to ensure your needs are met. Like my vision statement says, I work to change, "That's impossible," to "Let's make that happen for you!"
I currently do not bill insurance for the services I provide. However, I will gladly provide you with a summary of services provided for you to seek reimbursement from your insurance company directly.
Please contact me to discuss how I can meet your therapeutic and financial needs.
If you still have a question, please let me know!
If these answered your most pressing questions and you're ready to schedule your consultation to find out if HeART Journeys Expressive Arts Therapies can help you, please click the button below to schedule your free 30 minute consultation!
You can also find more information about music therapy, other expressive art therapies and organizations HeART Journeys has partnered with by visiting the Links page.
I look forward to working with you and helping you find
where your heART journey will lead you!