Hello to all my faithful readers! It has been almost a year since my last blog writing and reflecting on the many months, I thought that this was the most appropriate subject to come back with.
Last fall, an unexpected job opened up which I applied for and subsequently filled as Coordinator and Supervisor of the Music Therapy clinic at Marywood University. Literally the same week that I got the job, a couple other contract jobs that I hadn’t expected nor went looking for also came looking for Back Mountain Music Therapy. Being a small business and because all of this was unexpected nor planned for, major readjustments needed to be made. Back Mountain Music Therapy hired its first subcontractor and the work that I love doing suddenly had endless opportunities and hours.
Personally, when I started this business, I had two teens in high school and a child yet in elementary school. That has all changed also. My oldest child has now graduated from college with an engineering degree on a Saturday and began working professionally the following Monday. My middle child is beginning his third year of college and my youngest just received her driver’s license and has taken us on the first of the last round of college visits.
Needless to say, the blog and social media when on hold. As I have observed my personal and professional life going through dramatic life processes, so have I simultaneously observed this more closely in some of my long term clientele. With summer time school break, I have also had the opportunity to reflect on the process of the past academic year. Reflecting on all of these adaptions I have once again had my attention brought to the importance of the process and having the ability to see its importance.
In Music Therapy sessions, sometimes you have those “Miraculous Appearing” sessions where one outwardly observes dramatic change in clients that you do not see anywhere else. The sessions where onlookers hear mute children produce spontaneous one word phrases; withdrawn un-attentive children engaging; adults lost in dementia having brief appropriate conversation. What is harder to see is the client whose internal process is happening, yet the process takes its time to demonstrate the results of good progressive therapy. Many clients whom a therapist has had a longer termed therapeutic relationship often have demonstrated over time what their particular inner process looks like on the outside. (One example – the little boy who withdraws for approximately one week and sleep patterns change – then at the end of this period displays some area of growth). The therapist working with these newer clients may not know exactly how their progress will be demonstrated but knows valuable things are happening. The hardest to see is the client whose responses are very subtle but still very valuable to their own process. In these clients, staying attentive to the slightest of changes, the most menial eye glance, movement or vocalization is significant and needs to be responded to as so. Although it is not a conversation from an otherwise mute client, the inner process for that individual client is as meaningful if not more because it is building to a change in growth that needs time and nourishment from another in order to happen at all.
May of today’s funding sources are eager to see immediate results but almost nothing in life that lasts happens with little effort nor immediacy. It is very much like the personal and professional results that I have enjoyed recently. None of them happened overnight but out of lots of time and quiet effort that were not all public.
When I tell people what it is I do, who I work with, very often, the comment following is “that must take a lot of patience”. In my opinion, it is not so much patience as having an attentive eye and appreciation for the subtlest changes, adaptions or responsiveness in an individual and the realization to understand it does not always look “pretty or productive”. Valuable responses may include crying or less “show” than what many may think. It is an accumulation over time that proves their validity.
Antoinette Morrison MT-BC