Friday, November 11, 2011

Going South!

I know, I  know, where the heck have I been?! 

I'll tell you, it's been busy around here. Mostly, though, I've been preparing to present a five-hour CMTE at the national conference for music therapy in Atlanta next week! I haven't been able to attend a national conference in a few years now (not since 2006 when it was in Kansas City, MO!), so I must shout "hooray" that I'm finally able to go again (meaning, it's within driving distance). 

What will I be talking about (you may well be wondering)? "Developing the Art of Self-Reflection: Exploring the Relationship Between Therapists and Clients" (I mean, how would you recognize me if I didn't have a ridiculously long title?). 

I'm quite excited about it! From what I gather, so far anyway, there will be around ten people there, and that sounds like a very nicely sized group (although I imagine we could work just as well with a few more). I'm planning for a lot of interaction, music-making, and thinking (truly...who wants to sit for five straight hours and listen to me lecture? Well, lucky for you, I can't sit for that long these days). 

Anyway, here's the blurb. If you have any thoughts about the topic, do tell! If you end up coming to the presentation, I'm a fan of feedback!  I'm so looking forward to meeting those of you who are heading down to the conference (especially the lot of you I only know through online adventures). Safe travels!

Developing the Art of Self-Reflection: 
Exploring the Relationship Between Therapists and Clients

The relationship between therapists and their clients is an intimate one. When we add music, the level of intimacy increases. As with any relationship, as the level of intimacy increases, the levels of resistance, uncertainty, and investment also increase- on both the therapist's part as well as that of the client. One the one hand, we may put up unconscious barriers, preventing a deeper connection with our clients. On the other, we may become so merged as to be in danger of violating important therapeutic boundaries. As such, the music therapy relationship can become difficult to negotiate.

In this interactive workshop we will begin by defining countertransference. Using case examples, we will work toward an understanding of: What is it? Where does it come from? How does it affect therapy? How do we begin to identify and use countertransference in our work with clients?

Participants will then be invited to share some of the difficult aspects from their own work with particular clients that challenge them in some way. Through dialogue, journaling and music-making we will process and explore some of the following questions: What are some of the ways we use to avoid looking more deeply at some of the clinical challenges we face as professional music therapists? What are some of the beliefs and ideas we, consciously or unconsciously, hold about ourselves, about music therapy, about our clients? And how do these ideas and beliefs affect our work and our clients? Why are certain topics so difficult to bring up in sessions- even if we know our clients need us to do so? What is it about the topics? What is it about our beliefs and ideas that makes it scary? What kinds of messages are being communicated by us to our clients when we don't address difficult issues? 

Through these workshop experiences, participants will work toward developing the skill of self-reflection, using a variety of techniques to process thoughts and reactions that emerge in relationship to their clients. 

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