Sunday, January 8, 2012

January is for Music Therapy

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.

I am deeply honored to have been asked to be a part of the Music Therapy Advocacy month, maybe a little intimidated. To be honest, when talking about advocacy during my time as a MT equivalency student I was completely scared to even think of being someone out there in the world teaching and advocating for music therapy. Not that I don't love public speaking, because I do. And not because I don't love the music therapy profession, because believe me, I DO. But because there are millions of REALLY GREAT advocates out there... aside from the obvious Martin Luther King Jr's of the world, I have been privileged to see some absolutely amazing parents who need to advocate for their children. It is HARD work. It's a full time job. You have to be knowledgeable, confident, persistent...It's intimidating. I cannot help but think, "There must be someone else out there who could do a better job" or, "Someone else understands all that legal stuff better than I do." I have a feeling that many of you baby MTs out there might feel the same way. Or at least I hope I'm not alone. BUT! I also KNOW that I am not alone in thinking, "If not me, who?" Hmm...sounds familiar.

Two years ago if you asked me if I would be interested in working in hospice care, I would have replied with an adamant “No”, having spent the previous five years working with teenagers. One year ago when I sat down during my first day in the “Music Therapy with Adult Clients” course I thought, "I could never do that." But over the course of the semester I saw my view of hospice settings shift to a deep respect and new enthusiasm to advocate and provide for the clients found in hospice care. Six months after I have interned with Seasons Hospice and I find myself not with a hardened heart, tough enough to stand the emotional tolls of our work, but rather a better understanding of death and the dying process as well as an appreciation of what we are able to offer our clients. If I can't advocate and provide for this population, who will?

This January, music therapy bloggers and podcasters were asked to share their tips, thoughts, and ideas on advocacy and on being an advocate. I am going to do my very best. This might be more of a learning experience for me than for you. Who knows, maybe I'll learn that I LOVE advocacy, or maybe I'll inspire you to do better than I did.

For now, here are a few things to start of the week:

  1. Head over the The Music Therapy Maven and take the “What’s Your Advocacy Personality?”quiz. It’s a fun, Cosmo-style quiz that will help you determine your most natural, comfortable advocacy style. Jump over here to check it out…and be sure to share your advocacy style in the comments section - be sure to tell them that Annie at PreludeMT sent you! I scored a “Not Afraid to take the lead…” and I agree completely. I just have more learning to go and would appreciate any direction/guidance.
  2. Check out these other blogs/podcasts with posts from last week:
      3. Be sure to also follow the #mtadvocacy hashtag on Twitter to stay current with what’s  
      4. Check back throughout this week and later this month for more words of wisdom from
          yours truly.
    Happy Advocacy Month!


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