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  • Exploring “Musick”

    When I use the word musick, I’m referring to music as a verb. In this way, it includes all social and sonic relationships we experience when we “do” music. The term musick is an old one, with origins in the Baroque era. In Newfoundland and Labrador, music is a huge part of our traditional culture and folks have been musicking here for centuries (Come Home Year will undoubtedly be a musicking one!). Nowadays, health professionals use the term to describe specific, musical tasks that are serving as interventions that help people reach wellness goals. To musick in counselling is to “health musick”. This means that, as your counsellor, we set goals together to work towards improving your well-being. One of the ways to reach those goals is to integrate music. When we use music this way, it is with intent, evidence-based practices from the field of Music Therapy.

    What does health musicking in a counselling session look like? First, your needs and goals are always the top priority. Once those have been established within our therapeutic relationship, I will look at specific, evidence-based strategies, including those within the four areas of Music Therapy interventions that can help move you forward: Listening, Recreation, Improvisation, and Songwriting/Composing. And all it requires from you is an openness to this approach. No musical experience is necessary on your part. I have the skills we need to health musick together.

    Some may wonder how using music this way is any different from some things you may already be doing. For example, lots of people use music to motivate them, to influence their mood, or to express themselves. The fact that you may already be doing some of these things is great! Humans have benefitted from the therapeutic effects of music long before Music Therapy or Music-Integrative Counselling was formalized. We’ve been listening and creating throughout the ages. The difference from what you do on your own and what we would do in session is clear when you think about it this way: How is talking with a friend different from having a therapy session with a trained mental health professional? How is googling health ailments on the internet and trying to fix yourself different from actually seeing a physician? How is a back rub from your partner different from seeing a trained Massage Therapist? The difference is the following: Years of education, training, and experience; accountability and liability within our professional organizations; and evidence-based treatment/interventions chosen with your specific needs in mind. 

    Like many counsellors based in Newfoundland and Labrador, I can provide services online to individuals all over the province. However, my practice is specifically focused on helping people move through change and loss; and one of the ways I am passionate about doing that is through music. I’ve always believed strongly in the therapeutic effects of music and have benefitted from it both as a musician and a person in general. I’m privileged to be able to offer this service to others.