The purpose of psychotherapy is to help you on your healing journey, to help you deal with stressful events and periods of your life, to provide support you so you can make important decisions, and to help you find meaning and purpose in your life. Critical to this, is finding a therapist with whom you feel comfortable and safe.
I have been a music therapist for twenty-five years, and on the learning path toward psychotherapy for ten years before that. I have experience with people of all age groups and a wide range of issues and conditions. I am a member of the new College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario.
Music therapy has a history reaching back to the post- second world war period with the first music therapy graduates working with war veterans and the developmentally delayed. Since then, it has been shown to be effective with many kinds of clients, especially those with autism, dementia and Alzheimers, in palliative care and mental health. Music’s ability to relax our minds, support emotional awareness and expression, connect with our spirituality, support social interaction and connection and motivate physical movement is integrated within the field of music therapy. Together with psychotherapy training and the techniques unique to our field, we bring an experiential and creative spark to the field of therapy.
Music therapy can be used as a primary therapy, or in conjunction with other therapies, such as talk therapy. To draw on music therapy’s ability to open up the emotional space and relax the mind, scheduling a session just before other kinds of therapy works well and can enhance the other therapy’s effectiveness.
My approach combines talk therapy with experiences of self-exploration through music making; song-writing (telling your story or Narrative therapy); guided visualization; art and creative writing; vocal techniques to help release tension, energetic or emotional blocks; reiki; singing bowls; play therapy and listening to or creating soothing music that helps you relax and disengage from stress so you can clear your head and your heart.
Clinical Populations with whom I have experience
Children/Teen issues include:
- Autism spectrum, learning disabilities, intellectual and developmental challenges
- Mental health issues like anxiety, depression, recovery from trauma etc
- Physical Illnesses whether cancer, developmentally disabling conditions
- Facing terminal illness for themselves or facing grief or loss of family members
- Any of the above
- Students coping with the stresses of University life
- Preventative healing or medicine
- Cancer, or other states of dis-ease, including debilitating conditions like MS, Parkinson’s Disease etc…and the depression or life changes which often accompany them
- Stressful situations or changes in life, whether because of relationship changes, work issues, retirement, caring for parents or other transitions
- Care-givers of people with special care needs
- Adults wishing a creative break from their work life, for de-stressing and life evaluation.
- Palliative Care
- Dementia, strokes, depression, isolation, mental illnesses, or other conditions whether living at home or in facilities
- Maintaining cognitive, emotional, social and physical wellness to the best of their ability
- Palliative care – people at end of life and their loved ones and care givers
In support groups for people focused around a specific condition or struggle, like MS, Parkinson’s or Huntington’s Disease, music therapy offers a non- or low-verbal expressive component to their gatherings. There are particular techniques that help to address a range of physical and expressive needs of the clients.
For NON-Musicians, too….
In music therapy, most people are beginners or come as non-musicians, exploring the use of music and/or the arts for the first time…
Music Therapy in short:
- as psychotherapy: helps unlock issues, promote creative problem solving, and open paths for healing and increased awareness
- as developmental therapy: supports improved self-expression, movement, cognitive development, speech development, and social interaction while making learning fun
- is individualized and focuses on the client’s needs, nurturing their abilities and interests…rather than their disability
- is done in your home or facility, or other settings
- may be individual or groups
- draws on a range of techniques involving active participation or relaxed receiving
- supports the client’s social, emotional, physical, cognitive and spiritual well-being and promotes healing
- support for your meditation practice
- promotes relaxation and stress release
- helps release deep blocks
- supports healing on many levels
- helps you reconnect with yourself and your inner wisdom