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What happens 'behind the scenes' in Music Therapy?

In the last few posts, I covered some of what I do with clients within Music Therapy sessions - we sing, we play, we cry, we laugh and we create. However, what most Music Therapy services don't talk enough about is what we do behind the scenes to allow these 'magical' and 'scientific' moments to happen. (Some would argue it's all science no magic, or vice versa. I believe it's a bit of both.)

Committing to therapy is a huge decision for a family. You deserve to know what to expect from therapists behind the scene so you can make informed decisions on how much value you put in therapy.


Before therapy begins

1. Learning about our clients before assessment

Therapists from different settings have varying approach to this. Some therapists read up on past reports, some offer an initial meeting prior to the start of therapy. I offer a 30 minutes consultation with parents, a phone consultation with other professionals involved in my client's care and to read recent reports before conducting the Assessment Sessions.

2. Risk assessment

There is an inside joke in one of the Music Therapy services I work in that we will soon be seeing our clients in space suits to prevent any risk of infection. Jokes aside, risk assessments are particularly important nowadays. A thorough risk assessment, inspecting potential hazards in the room where therapy will be conducted, clients' risk of self-harm, cyber security, risk of being exposed to infectious disease etc., must be completed prior to the first session.


Once therapy starts

1. Note writing

Music Therapists will take notes of significant events and their insight after each session. This provides an opportunity for therapists to reflect on their experience in the sessions and evaluate their clients' progress over time. These notes are also useful in supervision and inform therapists' approach in future sessions.

2. Session preparation

The other day, a young client requested 'Supercalifragilisticaexpialidocious' for the next session so now I know how 'atrocious' and 'precocious' the word might seem. Apart from learning songs, I plan each session ahead of time. Choosing the appropriate musical activities is crucial to helping some clients to achieve their psychosocial goals. I also create downloadable materials for nursery rhymes (feel free to download them)