I have a confession to make. Let’s make it two confessions…

Confession One: The first two years of my professional existence didn’t involve my professional association, The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

Confession Two: During this time, I fell into professional love with Judy Simpson who is the Director of Government Relations for AMTA.

What makes either of these confessions worth being ashamed of is that the American Music Therapy Association is probably one of the best resources that I, a music therapist, could ask for. What’s even better? Even when I wasn’t a dues paying member, they would still pick up the phone and assist me with whatever difficulties I was having at the time.

And who did I talk to the most?

Judy Simpson.

This brings me to my first tip on how to utilize your resources:

Try them out: You are unlikely to know that something or someone is a resource before you try it. You might hear from a friend that something has helped them, but as each individual is different, they also have different requirements for something to assist them.

I didn’t know until I called that AMTA would still help me even though I wasn’t a member. I unfortunately waited until I felt I had exhausted all the options I could think of before looking for support.

Ask Around: The wonderful thing about being in a community (community of professionals, parents, a family, your school, church, etc) is that people share information. They will talk about a service or resource that they have had success with and often enthusiastically provide more in depth information when asked.

Find a music therapist who has ever had questions about reimbursement, government relations, advocacy, or job title/protection and ask them about Judy Simpson. The immediate answer is love and how helpful she is!

Schedule Some Time: If the resource is a person, see if you can sit down and talk with them. If it’s a website, book, or other inanimate type of object, schedule a time to peruse it. If it is a class or group, schedule a visit. This will give you a chance to really see how the resource can work for you!

I’ve talked to Judy a lot. I’m sure she’s pretty sick of me between the South Carolina Task Force and my incessant questions about reimbursement, insurance companies, contracting with facilities, and the government. I refer to Judy as a music therapy rock star. Her time is very valuable, very scheduled, and I’ve had the pleasure of talking one on one with her a number of times about issues I was having. My friend Kat Fulton actually inspired this post because she was impressed with how much one on one time I’ve had with Judy.

Utilizing the resources available at your fingertips can be a tremendous help. It will alleviate stress, give a fresh eye to the situation, and help you feel connected to those around you. Tell me about your favorite resources!