Friday, October 29, 2010

The big comfy couch incident

New Couch!!!Image by SimplySchmoopie via FlickrWell! Work, this morning, was a bit crazy (to put it mildly). 

Both the 9 AM and 10:30 AM groups were either getting ready to take part in or getting ready to watch the big Halloween parade at our facility (which is actually pretty cool- a local high school marching band comes, there are costumes, people bring their dogs, their babies, etc.). 

There was all kinds of flurry and insanity, what with trying to get the guys/gals outfitted with their various costumes and such. There was annoyance, there was attitude, there was drama...well, you know how it goes.

Now, mind you, the guys in the second group weren't actually going to be in the parade. We were just working on getting chairs outside and guys assembled in heavy sweatshirts and caps (it was cold out there today!) so we could all watch before the parade, er, passed us by (as the saying goes). 

Mercifully, we got ourselves all out there in time, caught the all-too-brief parade, cheered loudly for the guys who had gone to boldly march in their costumes (the cottage had gone as race-cars, and they were all sporting their "cars" with frames draped over their shoulders- it was pretty nifty), and managed to get everyone safely back inside with only one incident report having to be filled out (um, that was me, because one of the guys who used to love watching parades and being in the middle of the action...well. He wasn't in that good of a mood to be moved around. My deepest apologies to R for my misunderstanding.)

To put it mildly, we were all shot!

I went to join E on a big, mushy couch, because he seemed to have been out of sorts all week, and I just wanted to check on him. We've known each other for 22 years. To not check on him would have been totally rude. 

So E and I were just sitting there, hanging out and decompressing from the morning's events, and T came over and decided to join us. 

Now, the reason this is news (and very cool) is that T's usual approach to sitting on couches is to shove whoever is on the couch off. This is usually accomplished by pressing his fingers firmly into the back of the person's head, but bopping people over the head has also been employed at various times. 

But he didn't do that. T came over, sat on the other side of me (I was in the middle), and he took my hand, carefully, and he held it for about five minutes. Then he smiled, got up, and continued walking around the room

Now, that's what I'm talking about!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Getting to "no" you

Just Say NoImage by donnamarijne via FlickrWhile I was avoiding writing my proposal for the regional music therapy conference this afternoon, I started thinking about one of the women with whom I work- this would be the woman who spent a lot of time being undressed in our sessions initially. 

I thought you might be interested in a brief update.

C has managed to keep her clothes on (although her shoes and socks go flying at times- but who can blame her for that?) since we decided it would work a lot better if we had a much (much) shorter session time of about 7 to 10 minutes. 

Most importantly, she has been able to peacefully let me know when she is not interested in having a session, and that seems like a step in the right direction to me. 

I've said this before, and I'm saying it again: Any time one of my clients feels safe saying "no thanks, not today" to me, I know I'm on the right track. 

Now I just have to hope/trust that, at some point, she'll feel safe enough to say "yes" more often. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

So, here's a question for you, happy readers...

Back in April of this year (yes, the one that's passing us by so quickly) I had a series of posts about a presentation I did at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference of the American Music Therapy Association on Taboo Topics in Music Therapy (Part I was the Introduction, Part II was the handout, and, of course, Part III- which was The List).

I was asked by the conference chairperson if I would do a follow-up, because it was an interesting topic (thank you) and because people felt as if we'd barely scratched the surface of the issue (very true).

So, I'm thinking and agonizing (shocking, I'm sure- I mean, who would have ever thought I, of all people, would think and agonize?) over which aspects of the vast array of taboos to talk about.

Here are some options I've got floating around in my mind: 

*We could take the handout (which I could happily reprise), have people fill it out and use  participants' case examples to look at as a group. 

*Or we could take a specific aspect of The List (So Far) and focus on a particular topic. Some examples of that could be:

*"Feelings for and about our clients and our clients' feelings about us" (which could be an entire graduate class, frankly)

*"Fantasies we have about ourselves and our clients" (these could include fantasies that we'll fix our clients' lives, we'll make them happy, rescue fantasies and beyond)

*"What to do when you make a mistake" (my friend Judy and I did this one a few years ago, "The Myth of the Perfect Music Therapist, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Mistakes", and I've been trying- trying, I tell you- to post the handout, but for some reason it's just not working properly) 

*And, a variation on the above theme, "Feelings of incompetence as a music therapist" (which could get awkward).

I'm sure there are more options. I'm thinking that the ones I've mentioned are things I could talk about with some intelligence/experience. I would be willing to tackle, or at least create a forum, for other issues on the list (fears of clients committing suicide, fears of getting attacked, clients and boundary violations- particularly in the age of social media and such, therapist/client prejudices, and so on and so forth). 

Here, of course, is where my question to you, kind blog readers, emerges:  

If you had a choice (and some of you may, because some of you live in this region), which aspects of taboo topics would you want to explore in a presentation?

I'm presuming that I would probably only have about an hour and a half to hash out heavy stuff. It is, of course, possible to put in two proposals and I could ask if I could do two presentations, both of which would be follow-ups to last year's talk.

So have at it, folks. I look forward to your thoughts/comments!