I can’t believe that I will be at the halfway point of my internship next week.Time has flown by
and I’m so thankful for all of the learning experiences so far. I’m learning that an internship is not only to help me grow as a music therapist; with guidance from my supervisors, this internship is helping me grow as a person as well.
Last week I wrote about how it’s been really hard to be myself in a clinical setting and I would like to expand on this topic. Well earlier this week, I had a tough conversation about how I haven’t been myself. Being yourself is extremely important in providing a safe and comfortable environment for clients and in the end, helps you to be comfortable as well and helps you to stay in the moment. Like I mentioned last week, this is difficult for me. I also have trouble being myself in my personal life, which then translates over to my therapist life. After a lot of thought and discussion this week, I realized that I need to just get out of my head. Being myself shouldn’t be this difficult and it doesn’t have to be if I just stop thinking about every little possible thing.
After letting go and being myself for the last two days, I have found that my clients respond SO much better. My clients were more engaged as well as more successful. This makes sense, of course, because I’m being more genuine. As a therapist, it’s important to be genuine. Music therapy doesn’t always have to be extremely clinical. There can be laughter as well as fun as a client works towards their goals. That’s what I’ve been missing these past few weeks because I’ve been letting my thoughts get in the way. As I learn to be more comfortable and completely love myself the way that I am, it will not only significantly help me in the clinical setting, but also in my personal life as well.
So if I have just one message for anyone reading this, it would be just love yourself. Get out of your brain and stop overthinking. It’s hard to do and I struggle with it every day, but as I’m slowly learning, it is totally worth it.
We have just posted our second video in our sign language series. Have I mentioned yet how incredibly excited I am? I love using color signs as a music therapist. There are so many therapeutic applications for sign language not only as a tool, but as an additional means of communication. That being said I use my color signs regularly.
I will use them to reinforce colors with some of my clients who are nonverbal, or minimally verbal. But I also use them with clients who are very verbal and working on academic skills. Using sign language makes your academic experience multi sensory which can be very helpful for people of all ages and abilities to learn and grow.
Check out this week’s video and let me know what you think! Also, do you have an idea for a sign language topic? Let me know in the comments!
My favorite aspect about my internship is the fact that I get to experience music therapy in a wide variety of settings and I get to work with many different people. Since I work in so many settings, it allows me to explore my interests and consider what setting I might like to work in as a professional. I’m really blessed in this way because I know some other internships only focus on one type of music therapy in one type of setting.
While wrapping up my week twelve of my internship (!!), I’ve had time to reflect on all of sessions that occurred at all the different settings I work in throughout the week. After reflecting, I think it’s extremely important to be yourself as a therapist, no matter the setting. This is something that I’ve been really struggling to do these past few weeks.
I truly believe that you can remain professional while still being YOU. Doing this in a session can provide an environment that’s comforting and inviting for the client. The more the client is comfortable with you, the more they are willing to engage and share, which means that they might reach their goals and objectives better. I’m starting to realize that when you’re not yourself, it could potentially hinder parts of the therapeutic relationship and process.
Sometimes I get in my head too much, which may lead to overthinking and not allowing myself to completely be myself. During the upcoming weeks, I’m going to try my best and really focus on NOT overthinking, being in the moment, and creating that safe, engaging environment for each client that is essential for each client I see throughout the week. I’m grateful that I’m figuring all of this out now, during my internship, so that it will not hinder my professional life as a music therapist.
It’s really important that you are yourself at all times. I strongly encourage you, especially if you’re still in school or beginning your internship, to do this right from the start! Also, don’t be afraid of being yourself either, in a professional way of course; It will help both you and the client immensely in every way possible.
I hope you all have had a wonderfully restful weekend. I have been working and planning a brand new video series for professionals and families alike on my absolute favorite topic: sign language! Before we get started, I thought I would share a little about why I have such a passion for sign language in music.
I began learning sign language in high school while working at a Steak N’ Shake. I worked in a town where there was a large Deaf population because of the state school for the Deaf. I always thought it odd that nobody sought to learn sign language to communicate with respect, to customers. One night I began researching and learned a few basic signs that every server should know i.e. ketchup, mustard, mayo, sandwich, fries, cola, and of course, thank you. Immediately I felt more confident and equipped when serving. I carried this into my studies in Music Therapy and sought new ways to use sign language in the therapeutic environment.
Throughout this series we will explore different signs and how we can use them with specific goals in mind! So join in, and stay tuned for our weekly installment every Monday!
Sometimes certain aspects of life can get challenging; life may throw things at you all at once and sometimes it may be a little difficult to handle it in a productive and positive way. Being away from my friends and family, as well as handling and growing in my internship has been hard for me recently. However, I made it through this week and next week will be new where I will be able to start fresh and continue growing as a person and as a music therapist.
One of the things that I took away from this week is that it’s important to focus on the positive aspects of each day. There may be something that happens that you may not like, but there will ALWAYS be something good in everyday, no matter what. Reflecting and remembering the positive aspects can change your entire perspective in a heartbeat and can turn a bad day into a good day instantly.
Although this week was tough for me in many different ways, I tried to really reflect and focus on the positive aspects about this week. I’m growing in so many ways at my internship, and although it’s getting harder because I am learning and expanding my skills even further, it’s been fun and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else in the world. I get to wake up each day and do what I love to do and help people along the way. Thanks to my wonderful family and friends, my support system is only a phone call away and they are there to share a smile, laugh, and give a piece of advice whenever needed. Also, I’ve made sticky notes that hang around my apartment and each note says a positive phrase, a quote, or a comment about my day so that I can be constantly reminded about all that is good.
The sun is always shining and tomorrow will always be a new day so remember to always embrace it.