Welcome!

Welcome to the my new blog!

If you are reading this and wondering, “Well this is just your old blog with a new look and a new URL” you are almost absolutely right! Yes all of my older posts are here from “An Existential Music Therapist’s Reflections”…Yes, a lot of the same categories are here. Why the change? I needed a new URL. I needed to break away from the old blog. It represented an over-analytical, pushed perspective. I had placed on myself this pressure to fill it with lots of philosophical viewpoints, music and existentialism, analysis of theory, etc. Half of which I never even touched or mentioned. This new space is clean. I have removed old blog posts that made me feel damp and less driven…the posts that were written almost out of spite for the overwhelming feeling I had to write some great treatise on existentialism in music therapy. The difference in the old site and this one is that I am not going to overwhelm myself with analysis. I am going to write whatever I feel like writing. I am beginning this blog to share my perspective with you in a conversational and relaxed way.

The tagline “Personal Tales and Music Therapy Musings” really sums up what I want this second chance to be about. This site will have a journal type of feel with some clinical references and probably music therapy intervention ideas in the process. The reality is that I do not actually know because I am an in-the-moment type of writer…which is something I ignored in the blog you are more familiar with. You will notice that the theme of the site is minimal. That is my overall intention. I realized that my writing was becoming this analytical conundrum and that I was overwhelming myself and taking away everything from writing that I love. So for posts following this one, you will find a more conversational style of writing, with that same analytical twist.

The subject content is different. There will be a more broad focus. I felt that I cornered myself with the existentialism theme. Here, there will only be that which comes to mind, be it a great music therapy intervention idea, a song I’ve written, photos of an excellent day outside with my lovely fiancé and pups, or most anything else.

On another note, I will be deleting my old blog within the next month or so, just FYI..everything from there is already here.

So…..

Welcome, welcome, welcome to my new experience!

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Really Reflecting.

Transition. Good. Change.

Transition. Good. Change.

It is obvious to me that every couple of blog posts I publish on this blog are about the blog itself. The posts consist of subject content that is related to how I never post in the blog, maybe about how I should change the focus of the blog, or maybe about the act of writing itself. I realize that these points should not become the focus of the blog and that maybe I am due for a definite name change.

To limit myself to “An Existential Music Therapist’s Reflections” is uncharacteristic of my normal behavior. I try to distance myself from constraints and labels, yet I have done so here in my place to share with you. Yes my clinical work aligns with existentialist theory and practice. Yes, in fact, I do enjoy reflecting (sometimes too much…see previous blog entry). Do I really want the title so specific? It is limiting and it is clear that I rarely even incorporate any existential thoughts or reflections into my blog posts! It is so hard for my to determine or pinpoint, rather, what to share that which fits within the scope of existentialism and how it relates to my music therapy work, and it also be information that isn’t confidential. With its close attachment to personal experiences and meaning, writing about my reflections in music therapy practice in existential alignment with clients and patients is difficult to do without sharing too much. This fact is true for any type of therapy or healthcare experiences, not just music therapy and not just from an existential approach. Existential music therapy isn’t the only way I practice so why should I limit myself, and represent myself, with only that practice in the title. I try to be as well-rounded, present, and prepared for anything in a session so that I maybe best suited for each client. So it is time for a definite name change of this blog.

I wonder about what approach I should take to naming this blog. Who can relate? What material is here and what material will most likely transpire here? There will be music therapy, for sure. There will be exploration of the mind. There will be meaning. There will be life experiences. Where to put the focus…where to begin again…

I don’t want to say that by changing the name that I will change the focus. The problem isn’t the focus, but the name itself. I rushed the name because I wanted to relate to folks in a personal way. The problem is that I tried to relate, instead of just relating. Every time I give a presentation, Caroline, in how well she absolutely knows me, she tells me to just be myself. If I present with the same vigor and enthusiasm that I speak to her about music therapy, then there’s no chance that I will bungle the opportunity. That’s how I want to relate to readers…I want to convey my love of life and how I relate to it and all the wonderful, and not so wonderful experiences I meet both in my music therapy work and in my personal life. There are so many things I want to say about the wonderful things I see in my life and in my work. By limiting myself to existential reflections in music therapy practice, I damper how much I want to say. Some people can focus their energies into writing about a particular subject. I have learned that I cannot. I need the openness to express many things. Restriction sometimes births creativity for me, but in this case, it is time for change.

Since I am changing the focus of this blog, I want you to have part in helping to name this place of sharing. I know that if you have a blog, enjoy writing, or are a music therapist/healthcare professional, you can relate to what I have written and are aware of the importance of naming and how powerful it can be. Let’s create something together.

Balancing Act.

Contrast. Balance.

Through some great conversation, journalling, and a dream, I realized that I over-analyze, for the most part, every part of my life. It had reached a point where I could not enjoy listening to music in the car because I was trying to determine what music best fit how I was feeling, my thought process and how it related to the music I was considering for my listening, and how I was going to feel after the music. Now, as a music therapist, these are all important and necessary decisions we make everyday when selecting music…for a client, and sometimes for yourself. I would spend most of my drive deciding what to listen to and by the time that I actually found music that made the most sense to me (after over-analysis) I was so anxious about if I was choosing the right music that I wouldn’t enjoy the music. I have been listening to podcasts for my commute for the past several months. Nowhere else did I exhibit this behavior and nowhere else was it and issue to choose music congruent with my state of being. It only occurred in my vehicle, to and from work. When I listened to music at home, I felt free, per usual. This is when I realized that there was an issue I wasn’t acknowledging. If I wanted to listen to music for my enjoyment on my drive, I should have just put my iPod on shuffle and drove. The reason: I only put music on my personal iPod that I enjoy listening to. Why analyze it to begin with? Why not just plug in, listen, and enjoy?

My problem: I was unknowingly treating myself like a client. I was trying so hard to choose music congruent with my mood that I got lost in the process. I should have trusted the process and trusted myself. The peculiar point I should note is that when I am with a client and choosing appropriate music or a music intervention or improvisation technique to apply, I trust the process and allow the therapeutic structure of our relationship to make things work. It is almost as thought I were trusting myself more as a professional and less as Dean to make music selections for myself. I understand why this was happening: over-analysis.

That is one of the reasons I am restructuring the music therapy program I began at The Pines a year ago. I over-analyzed the needs of the residents, and I over-analyzed their abilities and disabilities. During my internship, I realized just how important silence is and this moment of realization reminds me of that experience. Sometimes you need to take a step back and take your eyes off of every brush stroke in your painting…you have to give your brain a different perspective. If you can see every brush stroke it doesn’t mean that you have to analyze every one, only appreciate them as their part of the whole.

So for the past few days, I have been really enjoying music on my drive to and from work. I have taken a step back and realized that by over-analyzing myself, over-analyzing my clients and their progress, by over-analyzing everything that I have taken the beauty away from the joy I get from those experiences. I pushed myself into a bit of an existential crisis. When over-analysis becomes the focus, you lose sight of what the focus should actually be: the process.