Advocacy and Self-Exploration



First, I want to say that I am excited to take part in social media advocacy month. Advocacy is such an important part of anything you enjoy in your life. It is especially important when your profession is involved. When you provide a service for someone, you want to provide the service for everyone who can benefit. When you can’t it, can be frustrating. So what can you do to help get the services to those people who need it? Advocate. Advocacy feels good to take part in and ultimately helps support professional growth.

Introduction: Advocacy –>; Recognition –>; Access

Since 2005, the American Music Therapy Association and the Certification Board for Music Therapists have collaborated on a State Recognition Operational Plan. The primary purpose of this Plan is to get music therapy and our MT-BC credential recognized by individual states so that citizens can more easily access our services. The AMTA Government Relations staff and CBMT Regulatory Affairs staff provide guidance and technical support to state task forces throughout the country as they work towards state recognition. To date, their work has resulted in 35 active state task forces, 2 licensure bills passed in 2011, and an estimated 10 bills being filed in 2012 that seek to create either a music therapy registry or license for music therapy. This month, our focus is on YOU and on getting you excited about advocacy.

You are not alone in this.

Being the first music therapist ever in my facility, I live in the world of advocacy every time someone sees me in the hallway with instruments. I am sure this is an expectation for anyone in their professional environment. I have been working at The Pines at Davidson full-time for over a year and I absolutely love it. I am a new professional. Through community presentations, inservices, and support group meetings, I have found a way to integrate awareness in my community. At first, I was surprised by how open most places were to having me come speak. Now, I realize that as eager as I am to advocate for my profession, organizations are eager to hear more about it.

The more we as music therapists explain our services, the more people will understand our profession and the benefits of music therapy. The more questions people ask about it, the more answers they find. Advocating can be self-exploratory. Constantly relaying the same information can be monotonous but it doesn’t have to be. Each time you advocate, try and find a new way to deliver answers. Everyone advocates differently. As Jung said, “Whatever we ‘know’ is ultimately grounded in our subjective experience.” So since we all have different experiences in our music therapy work, we all will explain it in different ways. You may be surprised at how many ways you can describe the same scenario. This not only keeps you ready for any type of question, but helps you to be more adaptable to different situations.

We carry many roles as music therapists. We fit into many different places because of the many different benefits and uses of music therapy. Being an advocate maybe one of our more important roles.

So advocate music therapists. Advocate for what it is you believe in. Advocacy comes in so many different forms. It doesn’t have to be a flier, presentation, or blog entry. It can be a conversation. Explore what it is you love about music therapy. Harness your passion and share it.


Initiating Your Hidden Self

follow it.
The inevitability of discovering yourself in music intrigues me. Finding yourself hidden within a lyric, whether you’ve written, heard, or read the lyric, or maybe you have related to a particular melody line or phrase of music. Have you ever been caught off-guard by the effect a particular piece of music has had on you? Did you further explore what that piece of music meant to you? It is important to fully explore these notions or incidents of surprise in order to best understand yourself. To maybe follow a detour on a road you weren’t intending on following. Knowing yourself and why you find meaning and pleasure or distaste in particular music, experiences, objects, or places can be important in order to experience fullness. (Fullness meaning balance in life; levity in a storm; flash of gold in a dark cave.)

After you relate in a surprising way to external stimuli, be it music or otherwise, how do you explore those feelings? Do you journal or blog about the experience? Do you write music upon the inspired idea, or maybe create a piece of visual art inspired by the surprise? To know yourself is to be yourself fully, in and out. There is a meaning to fulfill in this surprise. There is a freedom of will and the will to meaning, and there is also the meaning in life. Fulfillment. Justification of the experience and how it fits in the puzzle.

I implore you to explore. Become fully aware. Do not overlook even the smallest difference in the way you feel about a situation in your life. Meaning is everywhere and we do not have to go through life without exploring it. In fact, finding that meaning is the path to fulfillment and balance. Trusting yourself on a journey towards enlightenment. Lose yourself in your favorite music and go to your favorite place…and write. Write about what you experience. Try and find yourself on a cellular level. Know every cell in your body. Know every breath. Find your fulfilled, balanced, maybe hidden Self in song.