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 the home or at our clinic location. While we know many clients benefit from receiving their services in their own homes, we are excited to be able to offer clinic based music therapy! Music Connections hosts Mainstay’s clinic, which allows therapy to be more flexible (larger instrument selections) and intensive (more focused work) than in-home therapy. 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). 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 it disguises our work as being ‘fun’. Treatment in music therapy consists of many phases, described below.

Treatment Phases

This is a fancy word just to describe initial therapist-client contact. When you first contact Mainstay, we 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. Once placed, we set up an interview meeting with you and your therapist to determine if it would be a good fit for all involved. This meeting can be held at your home, at Mainstay’s clinic, or a place in the community. During this meeting, you can chat with the therapist about music therapy, the client, and of course, answer any questions you may have!

Assessment and Treatment Planning

During the first few weeks of services, your therapist will conduct a Comprehensive Skill and 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.

Treatment Intervention

Here we get to the core of our work as music therapists. Therapeutic music interventions are implemented to address the identified goal areas from the assessment and treatment plan phase. In these interventions, individuals actively participate in singing, playing musical instruments, rhythmic interventions, dancing and movement, lyric analysis (discussion of lyrics), songwriting, learning through music, improvisation, adapted music lessons, and other therapeutic experiences. These interventions 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 practiced in music therapy.

Ongoing Evaluation

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 at least every other treatment year, and new treatment plans are developed yearly. In addition, music therapists collaborate with other healthcare professionals on the individual’s interdisciplinary team (particularly recreation therapists and behavior therapists) to promote consistent terminology and methodology, more rapid goal progress, and generalization of skills across different settings and people!

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