I think it helped to acknowledge how frustrated I was feeling with the guys, because as soon as I was able to do that I felt a lot better. I managed to settle myself down enough to ask myself some of the power and control questions.
I had to put some thought into why I sometimes seem to need music therapy to look a particular way (or my clients to behave or respond in a specific way) in order for me to decide that I’m doing my job properly. The thing is...when you work with someone for years and years, as I have, there’s not going to be a lot of noticeable change. It’s not that what we do doesn’t matter- it may in fact matter quite a lot. It’s more that, after a while, the changes are a lot more subtle. And, as I’ve said before, to change too much within a system which is set up to discourage change is, well, frustrating.
I suppose this goes back to the thoughts I shared with regard to having an effect. I’ll probably end up repeating myself (what can I say? I’m in my 40s now...I’ve started to repeat myself already), but there are times when it can be hard to know if music therapy is having an effect (more to the point, a positive effect) on my clients. Don’t get me wrong- there are times when it is very obvious that it really matters that I’m there. It is, however, possible to go for quite some time where nothing much seems to be happening in a session, and I start to wonder, “is there something I’m missing here? Am I doing something I shouldn’t be doing? Am I doing too much? Are my clients doing too little? Is it legitimate to call this music therapy when this person refuses to use music most of the time?”
Sigh. If only there were easy answers.
Well, if being in music therapy is a place where my clients can come for a period of time and just be (as in be themselves or be mellow or be mad or be downhearted) and have someone (okay, me) be with them, then I can consider that part of a good day’s work.