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What I Miss Most About Clinical Work

by Kimberly on October 6, 2011 · 2 comments

I am going to be a very excited music therapist when I take my first Advanced Clinical class this coming spring! By the time I see my first client in January, I’ll have had a 1.5 year long hiatus from clinical work.

I really miss it. It was a purposeful decision not to open a practice when we first moved to Warrensburg. I had just spent several weeks saying good-bye to clients in preparation for the move and it was hard. Knowing that I was going to try and go back to school, I didn’t want to start working with anyone, only to have to say these good-byes again a few short months later.

It’s been an interesting experience having this little break. For starters, I expected to miss clinical work, but I didn’t realize how much I would miss it.

Additionally, having this separation has provided me an interesting opportunity to reflect upon WHY I miss clinical work so much. Even though there are sessions–and sometimes days–that are long and challenging, there are a lot of perks to being a clinician that keep us going and keep us doing what we do.

In my reflections, I’ve been able to summarize what I miss most into two areas:

  1. I miss learning from my clients.
  2. I miss being able to witness tremendous human change.

The first is something I didn’t think much about–and wasn’t even aware of–when I first decided to become a music therapist. It amazes me how much we learn from out clients! Fellow music therapist Michelle Erfurt wrote this simple, yet beautiful tribute outlining what she learned from her hospice clients. And I would bet that if I polled all of my music therapy friends, 100% of them would admit that they learn from their clients as well.

There’s also a lot to clinical work that is both humbling and inspiring. To me, the most influential moments happen when I witness change in my clients. Sometimes it’s small and sometimes it’s big. Sometimes it’s a physical change, or maybe an emotional one. Sometimes it’s directly related to the music and other times it’s a subtle–or not so subtle–shift in the client. Either way, being able to witness the changes that happen in our clients never ceases to be amazing to me, in the truest sense of the word.

So those are some of my thoughts…but what about you? What do you most like about clinical work?


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Natalie Mullis MT-BC October 7, 2011 at 9:04 am

Thanks for this read Kim! When I daydream about going back to school, one of my “requirements” has always been the ability to continue my clinical work.

Good luck getting back into the swing of things!!
Natalie Mullis MT-BC´s last blog post ..Typical? Diverse? What It Means In Music

Kimberly October 7, 2011 at 9:39 am

Thanks, Natalie! What’s nice about being MT-BC already is that you have the option of doing an online Masters 🙂 There are 2 programs I know of now and more coming, I believe… ~Kimberly

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