Professional Mission Statement:
Music Therapy exists to share the power of music in support of individual and community health and wellness. I believe in offering authentic services provided by outstanding board certified therapists, who use evidence-based music experiences to achieve non-musical goals through emotional expression, relaxation and pain management, cognition, communication, physiological, psychosocial, and spiritual work. Fusing art and science, I hope to kindle awareness, skill, self-regulation, understanding, and insight. I aspire to meet the needs of our community, and to integrate the modalities of Music Therapy, sound healing, and yoga technique so that we may all find our voices and thrive.
statement of personal theory and practice
a metaphor for my philosophical orientation:
Music is a tree. Our clients are the earth. The therapist is the air. Just as the tree grows in both ground and air, music is created together by client and therapist. Roots grow deep inside of the ground. Simultaneously, branches grow to share fruit. The tree exists equally above and below. The more deeply music can access the internal minds, bodies, and spirits of our clients, the more it can externally express. The more space that the therapist creates for music, the deeper the music can enter into the clients’ life. Music is a balanced and reciprocal relationship between client and therapist, and exists for one as much as it does for the other. The music of each is reflective of the other. The air does not expect the ground to move, but exists in the spaces between ground and branches. The air revolves around the earth, just as the therapist adapts flexibly to the clients’ needs. The therapeutic relationship is the fruit of the tree, which reflects a healthy ecosystem of musical creation that exists within and between the client and the therapist.
Mindfulness practices teach us how to pay attention intentionally, to be aware and experience without judgment. While for humans this is work, it is the natural state of nature. These techniques pull from various theoretical perspectives, but all focus on the therapist as a holder of space, as the air does in this metaphor. This air, representing the therapist, is accepting and yielding, allowing the client and the music to change and grow, while at the same time reflecting the present state of the tree’s existence. The air subtly shows the ground where it ends. The music that fills the ground, also fills the air without resistance. The music inside the client, as the roots in the ground, is what also emanates from the therapist, as the braches fill the air. I believe in reflecting the clients’ music and experiences, offering support and validation, an image of reality, with the space and resources to grow.
Existential approaches, similarly to mindfulness perspectives, value awareness. The freedom and responsibility of life can lead to anxiety. Look at the many stemming sections of branch and root, all representing a choice. However, the meaning is in the whole, in the identity of the tree, not in any one fork of growth. My approach, in this way, is also Holistic. I believe in safely supported choice and freedom within a musical container that is strong yet fluid, as the air. Musical freedom is powerful, but can be difficult. As a therapist, I support my clients in open and free exploration of music in a safe, welcoming, and successful way.
This metaphor reflects a person-centered or humanistic approach in that it demonstrates that we each have the resources within us necessary to thrive, as the tree within the earth and air has what it needs to grow. The client, or earth, has music within it, which serves as a mechanism to resolve conflict. The image of the tree with its roots in the earth and branches in the air illustrates growth and wholeness, another tenant of person-centered therapy. Both the earth and the air can look within, to the roots and branches. While the earth (client) is solid, it allows the tree (music) to grow without resistance from the air (therapist). The air, as a gas, accepts the branches and ground gently. The client is earth, because everything revolves around the client. The music that fills the air is a balanced (but not exact) echo of that which fills the earth.
Cognitive Behavioral techniques that I subscribe to are represented in this image by perception. To an observer above the ground, the branches are all that can be seen. Similarly, from below the ground, only the roots are visible. Through the therapeutic relationship, these perceptions can be reflected and illuminated with music, showing a more broad and realistic picture of the whole tree. I believe in the autonomy of the tree, and of the ability of the ground to learn from the air, but also the air to learn from the ground. Challenge is necessary for growth, and the living tree represents the active, structured approach of cognitive therapy, but also the collaborative aspect between ground (client) and air (therapist) to sustain life. My goal is for clients to feel as if they can control the music. The symmetrical and balanced visual image of a tree and its roots can also function as meditation on presence. The image itself is an exercise on perception, as the inverted image is not dissimilar from the original. The music, or tree, takes the nutrients in the air, or therapist, into the client, or the ground.
The tree is also an ecosystem, which represents my Systems approach to music therapy, in which I always consider the environmental, contextual, familial, and community elements of individual and group music therapy.