Do you work with individuals or always in groups?
Music Therapy can be either individual or in groups. Where there is a goal to support learning of social skills with children, or to support a social experience for seniors with dementia and strokes, for example, the group setting is benificial. Groups can also make services available to people at a lower cost per person. On the other hand, some people really need individual quality attention and care to reach their needs.
Please explain the difference between music therapy and sound healing?
The field of music therapy in the west, and specifically in North America, grew to support two initial populations: the developmentally delayed and psychiatric patients, specifically the veterans after WW2. It grew up through the development of psychology and psychotherapy and is taught in such a way that the techniques are adaptable to be useful in most clinical orientations, from behavioral models to transpersonal ones.
We now also have a recognized valuable role when working with the institutionalized elderly and in palliative care to support final resolution of life issues in preparation for death, and support families through the grieving process. Some music therapists also specialize in rehabilitation to support physical, and psychological recovery after accidents. Our practice supports all aspects of the person, physical, emotional, social, cognitive, mental and spiritual.
As science has made it possible to see the brain’s activity through various kinds of testing, we are more aware than ever of the value of music therapy, as these tests indicate that music holds a special place in supporting neuroplasticity of the brain, as well as allowing for multi-sensory input for those with sensory challenges, such as those with autism.
With all that we know now, the field of music therapy still draws from the original roots in healing traditions from around the world. That brings us to sound healing.
The sound healing approach comes to us most directly from the traditions of the east as brought to the west through the practices of yoga and meditation, which bring with them an understanding of the energy model. A similar understanding can be found in many traditional traditions around the world.
In the energy model all matter is understood to be comprised of a relatively small amount of actual matter set in vibration. Like ice cubes, particles vibrating at a slow frequency appear solid. As you heat up the ice cubes, or make the molecules move faster, the ice melts and becomes liquid, and then vapor, becoming invisible to the eye. But it is still there. Likewise we have our bones, the densest part of our bodies, surrounded by water, held in by the skin. Outside that, invisible to most of us, are the layers of the aura. Quantum physicists have validated that matter is mostly made up of energy. Many religious traditions have in their sacred scriptures some thing like “In the beginning was the word” or the “OM” or something similar. With that comes the idea that our energy is organized by sound and can be thrown in and out of harmony.
In traditional healing in many parts of the world the energy model or something close to it, is understood. In the advent of the scientific method, the spiritual and scientific started to be separated from each other. However, in current times, there are movements to draw them back into an integrated whole.
Where the two models, Western and Eastern, may appear to be quite different, I have been working on understanding and integrating the wisdom and practices of each, as well as some other variations, like Sound Medicine, to be able to serve you better.