I think part of what makes it difficult to sit with the sense of "um, I'm not sure what's going on here" is this mythology we tend to buy into as music therapists (I guess as any kind of therapists, really) that tells us "you must always know what's going on with your clients and have the perfect intervention and/or response to address it."
Even after doing this for 24 years, there's still a nagging sense of "I should know" in the back of my mind- even though I know (intellectually anyway) that I don't have to know, and even though I'm well aware my clients aren't always ready for me to know (or aren't ready to know for themselves), and even though I realize it's just a matter of sitting with the feeling and trusting the process.
I understand that some of my uncertainty comes from the fact that I work with people who don't use the usual means of communication or ways of relating to people. Using a process-oriented approach (and not a product-oriented one) also increases the likelihood that I won't always know what's going on in my sessions.
And, really, I'm okay with all of that. I'm just...very aware (shall we say) of a feeling of "hmm" when I'm faced with a situation and I'm not sure how to proceed.
So, lovely readers, I invite you to join me in looking at this part of our work as you journal.
-Do you allow for a bit of uncertainty as a part of your music therapy practice? If you do, in what ways? If you don't, why not?
-How do you approach uncertainty when it comes up in your work as a music therapist? Do you power through it on your own? Do you seek supervision or consultation? What kinds of questions do you ask yourself?
-How do your beliefs about what it means to be a "good music therapist" affect the way you deal with uncertainty? What does it mean about you, about your abilities as a music therapist, about how people might view the field of music therapy to "not know" what to do or how to approach a therapy situation?
-What if the "perfect" song or intervention isn't coming to you and you're in the middle of a session?
-What are some of the things you're doing in your music therapy practice that help you avoid the experience of uncertainty? How does that affect the therapy relationship? What might you be communicating to your clients?
I'd love to hear your thoughts about uncertainty (written out, sung, played as a piece of music, acted out as a play, whatever works for you), so please share them freely.