placement reflection: 2016-2017 term

It’s hard to believe that my first music therapy placement has come to an end.
6 months full of learning, relationships, development, and improvement.

Just to summarize the learning points I had presented in my previous placement reflection posts:

  • Know your clients – personal boundaries are important
  • Redirection of focus, and of negative energy
  • Flexibility is key
  • Never hinder unexpected positive outcomes
  • Observe carefully – small details matter
  • Be assertive, but kind – tone of voice (and level of projection) can change everything

Throughout these 6 months, I (and my co-therapist) have learned so much from working with actual clients – rather than just reading about them in case studies with no hands-on opportunities – and especially from our supervisor. From her, we learned more than just how to facilitate a music therapy session – we also learned improvisation techniques (sometimes, the more basic, the better), how to communicate effectively with support staff, and insights on being your own boss in the field, among other things.

I am most definitely in the right field of work. Every time I came out of a session, I felt one step closer to becoming a real music therapist, and I also felt a sense of achievement. Our clients’ behaviours would be unpredictable at times, but we were able to keep calm and keep going; they have shown immense improvements since the initial session, and that just shows me that music therapy is truly effective and life-changing; and the pure, simple joy they show on their faces when we sing and have fun was probably the most rewarding.

Music therapy is not easy – it is not singing to people, playing music for people; it is doing both with people, in which you form a therapeutical relationship.
It is “prescribing” music for clients’ needs.
It is intense observation, and requires much adaptability.
It is multi-tasking.
It is more than just the session – hours of documentation, paperwork, and preparation.

It isn’t easy, but it is worth it. And it makes my life meaningful.

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