What do music therapy services look like?
This is a very common question, and also a very important one! Music therapy services with Mainstay Music Therapy are provided in your home or at our clinic location. Mainstay’s clinic allows therapy to be more flexible (larger instrument selections) and intensive (more focused work) than in-home therapy, and it can be helpful for clients to have a neutral environment. We typically provide 45-60 minute sessions, once per week. Once established in treatment, music therapists will come to the individual’s home (or the client will come to the clinic!) bearing instruments of all kinds, musical games, visuals and props. Therapists engage with clients within a musical environment to address identified areas of need (identified below) and to develop a therapeutic rapport. Music is used as the medium for interaction and as a tool for change, helping the individual maintain attention to task, motivate their participation, provide expression opportunities, and music disguises our work together as simply being ‘fun’! Treatment in music therapy consists of many phases, described below.
This is a fancy word just to describe initial therapist-client contact. When you first contact Mainstay about services, our Intake Coordinator/Scheduler, Shelley, will get a general idea of your needs and availability. Based on this information you will be directed to a therapist’s caseload or our waiting list. If we are able to be placed on a Therapist’s caseload, Shelley will review our company’s policies and signature pages with you in our Intake Meeting. This meeting can be held at Mainstay’s clinic, or via video call. During this meeting, you can chat with Shelley about music therapy, the client, and of course, she can answer any questions you may have! Once we have all the paperwork needed, your Therapist will reach out to you to set up a start date and get to know your needs.
Assessment and Treatment Planning
During the first few weeks of services, your Therapist will conduct a Comprehensive Skill Informative Assessment (CSIA-MT) to determine the strengths and needs through musical responses in the areas of: motor skills, behavioral, sensory, cognition, independence, academics, social skills, communication, and emotional skills. Based on this assessment, a treatment plan is designed to outline individualized, functional, therapeutic, and measurable non-musical goals used to guide effective treatment intervention.
Here we get to the core of our work as music therapists. Therapeutic music interactions are implemented to address the identified goal areas from the assessment and treatment plan phase. In these interactions, individuals actively participate in singing, playing musical instruments, rhythmic playing, dancing and movement, lyric analysis, songwriting, learning through music, improvisation, and other therapeutic experiences. Music is used as a platform for engagement, motivation and development. These interactions are used in conjunction with musical and non musical cues in order to increase the frequency of the identified skill and/or behavior occurring. By following the objectives created in the treatment plan, we should see an increase in independence in these ‘need’ areas, and through the fading of cues, should see increased generalization of the skills learned and connections enhanced in music therapy.
Music therapists engage in ongoing evaluation of goal progress which consists of data collection, quarterly progress reports, and goal revisions as needed. Assessments are completed every treatment year, and new treatment plans are developed yearly. In addition, music therapists collaborate with other healthcare professionals on the individual’s interdisciplinary team to promote consistent terminology and methodology, more rapid goal progress, and generalization of skills across different settings and people!