Intern’s Corner – Week Nineteen

Hello everyone!

I hope you stayed safe during the extreme winter weather, and are enjoying the warmer temperatures.

Today, I want to share with you one of the challenges I have being a music therapist. I am very much an introvert. I love having time for myself and feel the most energized after a night in. I much prefer my bed and Netflix compared to small talk at the store or going to a Superbowl party. Although I am an introvert, I chose an extroverted career.

There are many aspects of this profession that can take use up most or all of an introvert’s social energy. This can include talking to care teams, leading group sessions, networking, and advocating for the profession. If you are an introvert like me, these aspects can be very draining. However, there are ways to work around this obstacle and thrive in this profession!

Understand Your Needs

What makes you feel the most energized? What can you do throughout your day to recharge your social bar and energy level? Understanding what you need can be extremely beneficial on the days that are the most draining. For me, it is finding time to spend by myself between sessions, lessons, and meetings. If I feel especially drained after my day, I will spend my afternoon in my room and take time for myself to recharge before my next day.

Self Care, Self Care, Self Care

When we get busy, we can forget to take time for ourselves. Often, people think that self care is doing face masks, taking a bubble bath, or lighting candles. While it can look like this, it can also be small things throughout the day. Recently, I have begun sitting in my car a few minutes before and after social interactions. This allows me to prepare for my next social interaction. This is a small thing that I can do for myself to help make the day less taxing.

Find the Things You Love!

In anything you do, it is important to find what you love most! No matter what job you have, there will be tasks that you enjoy and tasks that you would love to never do again. If your days are filled with the tasks you dislike, it can take a toll on your mental health. Whether you are an extrovert or an introvert, breaking up the tasks you dislike with takes you enjoy can help make your job more enjoyable. As time goes on, you may reach a point where you can delegate some of the unpleasant tasks to someone who does enjoy them!

Don’t Let Your Introversion be a Hindrance

Being a music therapist comes with many opportunities such as giving speeches and/or presentations, giving performances, and attending conferences. If you are like me, these opportunities send a chill down my spine. However, it is important to push yourself to try new things! Giving a presentation may lead to a job opportunity. Giving a performance may open the door to further advocate for your profession! While it is okay to say no, don’t let your introversion hold you back from your own growth.

As a music therapist, I see so many beautiful people and make many connections each day. This profession is not easy and it takes a lot to be successful. It is important to remember that being an introvert or and extrovert does not make you a better therapist or person. Instead, these traits can shape how you make decisions or what opportunities you choose to pursue. Finding ways to balance your social needs and the needs of this profession is key to being successful.

No matter what profession you go into, be you and be awesome!

Thanks for reading, and stay safe and healthy!

Cicely McCain

Intern’s Corner – Week Seventeen

Hey everyone!

I hope you are having a fantastic week! This week has been wonderful for me. I have had many opportunities to grow as a therapist, a professional, and a person. Throughout the week I have pushed myself in many areas of my development.

Last week, I really thought about where I need to grow most. The biggest areas are confidence and professionalism. These are challenging areas to work on. Practicing these areas looks different from practicing guitar or piano as they are more internal changes.

To work on improving my confidence and professionalism, I have set goals for myself with my supervisors. Some of these goals include communicating with care teams, using more professional verbal and written language, and complimenting strangers. In addition to these specific goals, I have worked on three other areas.

1. Be Personable

This week, I have been working on my professional communication and being personable. One way I have been working on this is by complimenting others, especially strangers. This is a way to work on speaking to those you don’t know in a low risk way. The worst that can happen is that someone gives you a weird look or ignores you. The majority of the time, it will brighten someones day and make it easier the next time you give someone a compliment!

2. Have Confidence in Your Body

In many situations, I do not feel overly confident, especially in settings where I am in a “professional” or “leadership” position. This lack of full confidence is shown through my body posture and presence in the room. As a professional, it is important to appear confident in what you are doing. Although I may not always feel confident, I can pretend to be by standing taller and speaking louder.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something

This week, I experienced new things during my sessions that I was not 100% sure how to handle. During these situations, I pushed through my anxieties, used my training, and trusted my gut. Internship is the time for me to try things and get help to learn how to improve. I can only improve if I try things and gain experience.

There are many areas that I want and need to improve in the next few months. At the end of my internship, I will be ready for the real world and I will be placed in positions where I will be the expert in my field. These next few months will bring further growth in myself as a therapist, a professional, and a person. I cannot wait to see what the future holds for me!

Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy everyone!

Cicely McCain

Intern’s Corner – Week Sixteen

Hello everyone! I hope you all have had a wonderful week and are doing well.

This past week has looked quite different for me. I finished out my second week of quarantine due to family members becoming ill. As a result, I have had to work from home for the past two weeks. This has led to many challenges and a few realizations.

Going through internship during a global pandemic has certainly been different. When I began looking and applying to internship sites, I had no idea what my path would look like. I was open for new experiences and challenges. However, I was most certainly not prepared for an experience like this one.

There have been so many changes to the music therapy field, as well as many other professions. New guidelines and safety procedures have been put in place, as well as new ways of providing services. I would like to share with you three of the big changes that I was unprepared for when I first started this journey, but have become part of my weekly routine.

1. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

For our individual clients here at MTC, there are some cases where physical contact is unavoidable. As a result, we wear PPE during our individual sessions. This includes medical gloves, a communicator mask, and a face shield. This was very uncomfortable at first, and still is, but I have slowly become accustomed to it. The most challenging parts about wearing PPE is playing the guitar with gloves and making sure you sing and speak clearly through everything.

2. Tele-Health

When this pandemic became apparent back in March of 2020, all in-person services were stopped. After a bit, people began to learn how to provide virtual services through platforms such as Zoom. As a result, I have learned how to provide virtual sessions and record sessions and music therapy materials for students I have been unable to see. I am so grateful for the opportunity to learn how to continue providing services for those we are unable to see in-person.

3. Sanitation

During my undergrad, I was taught to always clean the instruments and materials after using them in a session before returning them. This is a skill that I have certainly used a LOT during my internship. With COVID, everything must be sanitized well before additional use. This includes the piano, the guitar, tables and chairs, door handles, and anything else the client may have touched. This has been a big change in my sanitation routine but I have grown accustomed to it and am not sure I’ll ever return to only cleaning the small instruments like before.

Overall, my internship looks very different from what I ever expected it to be. There have been so many challenges and opportunities that have come with working in a pandemic. While there are many opportunities I have missed out on due to COVID, I have chosen to focus on the opportunities it as given me instead. Being an intern during a global pandemic is certainly not easy, but I appreciate everything I have learned so far!

Thanks for reading! I hope you all have a wonderful week and stay healthy!

Cicely McCain