I’m driving in my car listening to the radio when Ron Hynes starts singing Sonny’s Dream. For a moment, I’m 6 years old, sitting at our kitchen table, and my late father is strumming along with his guitar.
Music is powerful. We don’t always give full credit to music and its power. But music therapists are very aware of its influence. They intentionally use music as a tool to help people. They know the neuroscience, or the “whys” and “hows” of these carefully put-together sounds that can hit us so hard and so deeply.
I am a counsellor who also happens to be a musician and an educator. I have tried wearing these hats separately, but I am now integrating all three in a Music-Integrated Counselling training program. This means that I will be counselling people using music. Why would I need more training when I already have degrees and experience in music, education, and counselling? Because using music therapeutically (a.k.a. Music Therapy) is its own field of education and experience. Music is a powerful tool that I deeply respect. If I’m going to use it, I’m going to do so ethically and effectively with the best proven practices in the field.
The area of counselling that I’m passionate about addresses change and loss. I chose this area because I have first-hand experience to reflect upon and utilize. All human beings are tasked with these challenges, but sometimes we get stuck. I believe (and the science backs this up) that music can help us get unstuck and start moving again. It can help us feel what we need to feel, cope when we’ve got to cope, and grow so that we can find purpose and meaning again after loss and change.
I currently offer individual counselling online. But over the course of the next couple of months, I will be learning ways to integrate music into my counselling practice. In this blog, I will share some of my reflections about that learning journey with you. By the end of that journey, I am looking forward to expanding my practice to offer Music-Integrated Counselling services to help you.