If you “like” me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter, you know that I spent this past weekend traveling. But this wasn’t any traveling–this was traveling to spend a weekend with girlfriends. A special, sacred, everyone-should-have-the-opportunity-to-do-this type of weekend with the girls.
So of course we spent much of our time together dishing about ourselves, our kids, our spouses/significant others, our friends. But we also happen to all be music therapists–and all be music therapists with at least a part-time private practice–so we dish about that as well.
One such friend, Peggy, has a thriving practice in southern California working with children with autism. All private clients. Peggy has incorporated a policy for new clients that I am seriously considering for my own practice.
I like this policy because it sets a tone of professionalism and a clear understanding of expectations from the start. Primarily the expectation that music therapy is a serious, research-based profession that works and that the work extends beyond what happens during the session.
So what is it??? (C’mon…I can’t spill the beans right away!!!)
The client doesn’t come to the first session. That’s right–the client is not present at all at the first session.
The first session is a sit-down between Peggy and the child’s parent(s). Not grandparent, not nanny, not friend’s mom. It’s with one or both parents (or primary caregiver). The child stays at home so Peggy and the parents can have a focused, uninterrupted talk.
The first session (and, yes, it’s a paying session) does involve a little of going over the policy’s of her business (e.g. cancellation, financial, etc.). But it’s more talking about music therapy–what it is, why it works, and how it works.
The idea is that, from the get-go, there is the expectation that this is a “serious” therapy that works. Peggy is not there to babysit the child or to “play music” once a week. If Peggy is going to work with and help this child, the parent needs to be on board and involved in treatment.
It also creates a communication channel from the beginning. Both sides get an opportunity to talk and ask question. Rapport is created and a working relationship has started. The parent leaves with a clear understanding of Peggy’s philosophy, treatment approach, and how this treatment will best help the child.
So…thanks, Peggy! I love learning new ways and strategies for improving how I serve my clients. I’m going to keep this in my back pocket for when I open my doors to private clients again.
The 1st Annual Creative Arts Therapies Teleconference starts in two weeks! There’s still plenty of time to sign-up (a perk of running a teleconference, perhaps?). If you’re interested in signing up, or just want to check it out, click the pretty pink banner right here: