Having the opportunity to hear someone you admire speak is awesome.

Having that person speak to your very soul is flooring.

That’s how I felt when I got to hear Dr. Kenneth Bruscia speak at the AMTA national conference (this is the last post on this, I promise).

As a younger professional who started out in a very specific field and then expanded to operating a catch all private practice, one of my many keep me awake thoughts at night has been this:

Who am I as a therapist?

I remember being asked about my therapeutic philosophy as an intern and feeling pretty pleased with what I thought was my wise answer. I responded that I was still figuring that out for myself because I felt that a variety of approaches to music therapy applied to different clients in different ways.

As a student, I felt like this was a good answer, but I set up the expectation for myself to feel differently down the road. I fully expected to one day say “I am a music therapist utilizing (pick one)behavioral/cognitive behavioral/humanistic/neurologic/etc. practices”. The truth is that if you took away the need to have only one of those statements be true, that would probably be an accurate sentence.

Bruscia gave a lecture about the different ways of thinking about music therapy. He talked about changing the way we therapists view our tools and methods based on what the client needs. I may be 100% off base in my interpretation of this. Feel free to let me know in the comments, but I felt as if he was writing me a pass for my feelings of confusion since entering my private practice.

I have done completely 100% goal directed activities. I have done activities for the pure experience of the activity for my client. I’ve used a variety of tools, methods, and protocols to help my clients reach their potential. I work with such a range of clients (and that range seems to be expanding even more) that labeling myself one way or the other seems false to what I strive to do.

Hearing Bruscia say “it’s not about you” was like a professional coming home. Hearing a wildly respected thinker in my field validate my feelings of confusion and identity crisis as being the way we should be thinking about music therapy was so empowering. It made me proud that my toolbox is so big.