dreamerLast week, Dr. Frank Clark, who I have had the pleasure of chatting with, had a chamber concert in the lobby of the Palmetto Health Children’s Hospital, not 3 minutes from my house. When I saw the article, I flew to the internet to get in touch with him and find out more information! He had been working on getting an ensemble from the Philharmonic to come play for a long time- and he works as a psychiatrist at that hospital.

It put things into perspective for me as a corporate “outsider” trying to bring my services to larger organizations.

I have a lot of goals for my field. Specifically goals for my field in my city. I say goals, because like Frank, I am going to make them happen one day.

My goals include three primary points:

1. Music therapy being mentioned in the same breath as “traditional” therapies upon diagnosis.

2. Music therapy students in South Carolina finding jobs in South Carolina.

3. Individuals in need of music therapy services having multiple methods to access music therapy services.

What would Columbia look like if I realized these goals? The pictures are beautiful.

Anna and her brother, John, are faced with the hard decision of finding a suitable place for their mother. Their mother, Julia, has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and her care has become more than Anna and John can manage within the family.

One evening after getting their families together for dinner, John and Anna sit down with an array of brochures for continuing care facilities throughout Columbia and the notes that they took upon visiting each location.  John reads through each brochure and the notes that they took while Anna creates a pros/cons list. At the top of the pros for each list was this succession of bullet points:

  • Nice environment
  • Friendly Staff
  • Residents appeared happy and cared for
  • Music Therapy

“Connor was born with spina bifida hydrocephalus and displays intellectual delays as well. His days, as a 4 year old, are filled with doctors appointments, therapies, and smiling while his older sister plays Rock Band and Guitar Hero after school.

His mother, Nicole, recently changed pediatricians and received a music therapy referral to address Connor’s difficulty maintaining a palmar grasp, vocalizing, and tracking objects. Her initial reaction was of doubt- she didn’t want to schedule more time in Connor’s busy and stressful life, but he wasn’t progressing as everyone had told her he should be.

She called the therapist and scheduled the appointment. She found out that her services were covered by Connor’s primary insurance company with no copay. Upon arriving at the assessment session, she handed the therapist a list of things that have a tendency to make Connor upset and asked that they avoid any of those things at all costs- Connor had already had 3 hours of therapy that day and was not a very happy boy.

Nicole sat down in the waiting room poised on the edge of her seat and ready to come running if she heard Connor cry out. 10 minutes passed, then 25, and before she knew it, the hour was up. The therapist brought Connor out and he was smiling. The therapist ran through her observations in the session and promised the full report within a week. Nicole, looking at her son,  said “I wish my last pediatrician had told me about this- I’d have had Connor in here from the day he was born.””

“Amanda completed her music therapy internship in December of 2013 at a facility in Maryland. She grew up in and went to school in South Carolina and wanted to stay nearby for her family.

She began her job hunt when she had a month of her internship left. She made contacts, filled out applications, had phone interviews, and by the time she completed her internship and was ready to move home, she had four full time job offers- two from music therapy private practices, one from a hospital, and another from a public school district.

Amanda chose to work at the private practice in the upstate of South Carolina so that she could be close to her family and friends while serving a wide variety of clinical populations.”

“The Walker family just moved to South Carolina from Georgia. When in Georgia, they received music therapy services under a medicaid waiver for their daughter, Alyssa, who is diagnosed with autism and also had intellectual delays.

After settling in from the move and getting Alyssa’s medicaid waivers taken care of, Alyssa’s mother called a local music therapy clinic to see if services would be covered under Alyssa’s waivers. They were, and she was scheduled for an assessment later that week.”

My goal is for there to be no bounds to the services that we provide. I want to be able to find a way to provide music therapy for every family that wants it, and for every organization to realize the clinical benefits of music therapy.

What are your goals?