Welcome Back, Readers!
I’m so glad that you could join me during week 6 of my internship! Last week I talked about how I had hit a super low point. Mentally I was just not in a good place. There was a lot of self-doubt and self-criticism.
Clinically and musically, I felt like I was sub-par. As I started my day at the hospital on Monday, I felt like it was going to be another bad week. We walked into the first patient’s room and my internship director told me to take the lead. I just froze and everything that was in my brain, all my knowledge and skills, just disappeared. It was honestly a disappointing and scary start to my day and week.
However, as the day progressed, things didn’t get worse but rather they got better! The last patient of the day was kind of an initial turning point for the rest of my week. My internship director did start the session, but then stepped aside and I continued the rest of the session. It went well! Yes, there were things that needed some work and refinement, but compared to how the earlier sessions went, it was much better.
Tuesday rolled around and it was supervision meeting time. This was the first time in six weeks where I didn’t feel nervous, worked up, or worried for my supervision meeting. I felt good about my rep check songs and assignments that were going to be discussed. During this time we talked about how Monday went and the drastic difference in the first patient session compared to the last session. We also discussed using a new method to help change some of my thinking and mentality.
My whole life I’ve had a bad habit of being super self-critical and focusing on the bad things that have happened rather than the good stuff that happened during a situation. So my directors suggested that during my daily journal time I make a list of the things (personal and clinical situations) that I’m proud about that happened during the day.
Then I was to make another list “super short” of things that I would like to improve. By phrasing it this way, it was a healthier and more constructive way to focus on the stuff that I thought was “bad”. This method really did help me throughout the week. I felt myself feel better and it was a good way for my own brain to process everything that had happened throughout the day.
BUT I HAVEN’T EVEN TALKED ABOUT THE BEST PART OF MY WEEK YET! THURSDAY WAS AN ABSOLUTELY AMAZING DAY CLINICALLY, MUSICALLY, AND PERSONALLY!
Thursday was a true turning point for me. I felt strong and good about everything that had happened in my day. I don’t know what changed or clicked in my mind, but I woke up feeling different. Honestly I had been dealing with some personal stuff the night before that just had me exhausted and so I decided to just shut my brain down. I just wanted a break from having to over think about EVERYTHING. Apparently this method worked and I was on fire!
I started my day at the children’s hospital. I got the patient list together all by myself! I worked with a variety of patients throughout the day and in each session, patients were accomplishing goals and responding really well. I EVEN GOT TO CO-TREAT WITH PHYSICAL THERAPY!!!! I used music to help a kiddo accomplish and progress during their physical therapy session! How awesome is that?!?!!?!?!?
After the hospital, I was back at the office to work with an individual client. I was under the impression that I was only going to lead a small portion of the session, but as usual just as we are walking into the session my director was like “Alright your leading the session! Go! Have fun! Fly little birdie!” (You would think by week six I would have picked up on this….)
Honestly I was horrified for a moment, but then I continued with the session. It went really well! The client was responding and interacting with me, communicating with me, and accomplishing a lot of his goals. After the session, my director and I debriefed about the session and then my wheels were turning with a whole bunch of ideas. I was on a super high from the awesomeness of my day.
By the end of that evening, I was sprawled across the office floor with boom whackers, sheet music, and mallet in hand trying to figure out some interventions for a client. I was literally a child who had eaten way to much sugar and was bouncing of the walls. I realized that my fire had reignited and I finally felt that love, happiness, and passion for what I do. IT FELT GOOD! I’m going to literally latch onto that feeling and not let it go!
So why did I use a Jungle Book song as the title of this week’s blog? Well as I was driving and listening to my Disney playlist (of course I was jamming out to Disney while driving…shouldn’t be so surprising!), “The Bare Necessities” came on and it got me thinking about my week. I realized that I had gotten out of my headspace and solely trusted my instincts and skills to get me through sessions. So to end today’s blog, here is the list of the “Bare Necessities” needed to be a good music therapy intern.
Trust your knowledge bank:
Dude! You spent like four years full of countless all-nighters reading research, practicing repertoire, writing up session plans, treatment plans, progress notes, embracing all the weird stares from students because you looked like a traveling band carrying around a guitar and a bag full of drums shakers, and various other instruments. You got this! Everything you need is in your brain and you continue to grow that knowledge bank as you continue to repeat all the steps mentioned above!
Trust your music skills:
YOU SURVIVED FOUR YEARS OF COLLEGE AS A MUSIC MAJOR! YOU WOULDN’T HAVE GRADUATED IF YOUR MUSIC SKILLS DIDN’T EXIST. As a music major you have spent more time in an 8X8 practice room (mainly crying, but we don’t have to admit that) practicing, refining, and honing in on your aural, sight-reading, and various other musical skills. You are a good musician! Don’t you dare think otherwise!
Trust your instincts:
You’ve been training and working intensely for four years. A lot of your clinical responses have become second nature, so trust them. Don’t overthink and just go with your gut.
Take part in self care! Constantly:
You are working in a profession where you are taking care of other people the majority of the time. Make sure to take good care of yourself so you have the energy and resources to provide the best care for your clients and patients.
Have an organizational system that works for you:
Just be organized. Even if that means you are chaotically organized. Find a system that works with you and go with it!
Give yourself some space to fail:
Yes I know what you are thinking… What? Failure? No I can’t do that. But honestly it’s okay to make mistakes. That’s the only way we are going to learn and improve. Let them happen and instead of dwelling on them and tearing yourself down, let yourself process it and then come up with ways to get better. In the words of Hannah Montana: “Nobody’s Perfect, I gotta work it! Again and again ’til I get it right! Nobody’s Perfect! You live and you learn it!” (Sorry, got carried away singing! I’m done! Back to the list!)
Have fun and love what you do:
How many people get to say that they get to have jam sessions, write music, use obscure instruments, and honestly just have fun everyday of their life? We are in such an amazing profession — love it; absorb it; take it all in! When you love and enjoy what you are doing, everything else will fall into place, and your clients will benefit even more from the services you provide them.
So there you have it, readers! Week 6 started a little rocky, progressively got better, and ended on such a high note. This week served has a beautiful and wonderful reminder that reignited my love and passion for music therapy.
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! See you next week!