Saturday, February 18, 2012

Online Conference for Music Therapy 2012 Resources- Part 1

Recognizing and Responding to the Emotional Pain of People Who Don't Use Speech

Thanks so much to those of you who were able to join me at the 2012 Online Music Therapy Conference! And to those of you watching the recordings, a hearty welcome as well. For anyone else who may find this to be of use, feel free to make use of the information but please give me credit for having made the effort to put this together. Thanks! 

Roia Rafieyan, MA-MT-BC

Elements to Pay Attention to as You Work to Listen to People Who Don't Use Speech

Pay attention to what’s going on for your clients
The physical
·       Sensory/movement issues?
·       Medical issues?
·       Environmental issues?

The historical
·       What has gone on in this person’s life- including trauma history (biography)?
·       Patterns of behavior and contexts within which they occur?
·       Relationships with family, peers, staff (and any changes in these)?

The musical
·       How does the person use music?
·       Which instruments/sounds does s/he gravitate toward (vocal or instrumental)?
·       Meaningful music?

The right now experience
·       What’s going on in the relationship and how is my client responding to the experience?
·       How is the person using music/sound/behavior to connect/disconnect?
·       What questions are coming up for you as therapist?

Pay attention to what’s going on for you
The physical
·       What are my somatic reactions during the session?
·       Do I have a pattern of responding in a particular way?
·       How am I feeling physically on a given day?

The historical
·       Have I done my own therapy work (aware of my own issues)?
·       How much support do I need to do this work?
·       What beliefs and ideas do I carry with me?

The musical
·       Have I taken care of myself musically?
·       What are my musical blocks (fears) and needs?
·       What role does music play in my life?

The right now experience
·       What’s going on in the relationship and how am I responding to the experience?
·       What patterns are emerging (for my client and for me)?
·       What thoughts, fantasies, songs etcetera, are running through my head while we’re working together?

Pay attention to what’s going on in the music
The physical
·       What instruments are we using (vocal/instrumental? quality of sounds produced?)?
·       Are you/your client mainly using your voice or playing instruments?
·       Use of silence?

The historical
·       Which music has been important to this person and to you as therapist as you’ve worked together?
·       Do any particular songs trigger any particular reactions for your clients?
·       Musical themes which you/your client keep coming back to?

The musical
·       How musical are we being (aesthetics)?
·       Is the music being neglected entirely?
·       What role is the music taking on within the context of psychodynamics?

The right now experience
·       Why am I playing right now (what am I hoping to find out?  What am I looking for?)
·       What is going on in the music right now?
·       Who is playing/singing what right now?

Pay attention by:
  • Reflecting and interpreting
  • Learning more from reading, asking a lot of questions, taking classes, other disciplines
  • Listening more (especially to people who have autism)
  • Do your own work (get therapy, get supervision, join a peer supervision group)
  • Be aware/mindful
  • Ask yourself questions and be willing to find out the answers
  • Consider “whose need am I meeting here?”
  • Learn to tolerate ambivalence, ambiguity, not knowing, uncertainty


Laura Cousins said...

Invaluable, thank you Roia. I have shared this on Facebook and Twitter.

Roia said...

Thanks for sharing it, Laura, and I'm glad you found it useful. I may have to put more up at some point (obsessive? Moi?). :- )