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MT for Adults with IDD – Part 1

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The growing need for music therapy services for adults with IDD (intellectual and developmental disabilities), including ASD (autism spectrum disorder), calls for more research, forums, and publications in our field. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, the first of a 2-part series, speakers Jennifer Jones, Nicole Rivera, and Todd Schwartzberg encourage a renewed profession-wide emphasis on the unique needs of this expanding population. They begin that process by talking briefly about the history of music therapy with these adults and providing an overview of available publications and research. They summarize two descriptive studies and talk through case examples with a special focus on post‐high school transitions, adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the unique needs of older adults with IDD. Part 2 of the “MT for Adults with IDD” AMTA-Pro podcast series features an insightful conversation with clinician Ellen Rayfield talking about her work with this population.

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MT Practicum: Intergenerational Choirs

Music therapy students and graduate teaching assistants from Drury University and University of Missouri-Kansas City gathered around the AMTA-Pro podcast microphone to describe their work with an intergenerational choir as a practicum experience. They describe various aspects of the music therapy treatment process, including assessment, session planning, data collection, co-treatment, supervision, and various interventions. Dr. Melita Belgrave, UMKC music therapy professor, joins in the conversation to provide information about the background and overall structure of the intergenerational choir practicum experience. The text section of this AMTA-Pro podcast includes brief bios of the speakers as well as a valuable 24-page resource packet compiled by Dr. Belgrave, Dr. Alice-Ann Darrow, and Dr. Natalie Wlodarczyk, professors who implement intergeneration choir practicums in their university programs at UMKC, Drury University, and Florida State University.

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ASD Resources for Music Therapists

In this AMTA-Pro podcast, our music therapy colleague, Marcia Humpal, chair of AMTA’s Strategic Priority on Music Therapy and ASD, tells us about the wealth of resources related to music therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorder available on the AMTA website. Humpal provides an overview of the fact sheets, research, annotated bibliographies, reports, toolkits, brochures, journal articles, training modules, and other resources resulting from time and expertise of the Strategic Priority group and many AMTA members working with individuals with ASD. Some resources are specifically for families and caregivers, some for professionals in related fields, and many for music therapists.

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Counseling Micro-Skills for MTs

Music is such a powerful tool in the therapeutic process, a tool that can be intertwined with basic counseling skills to make interpersonal connections while building rapport, empathy and respect. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, our music therapy colleague, Dr. Lori Gooding, discusses research, clinical examples, and application of specific counseling micro-skills such as non-verbal interaction, authentic phrases, supportive statements, minimal encouragers, humor, and more. She talks about ways in which music therapists can use the techniques to impact the therapeutic conversation, diffuse difficult situations, and help reframe words and perspectives in individual, group, and family therapy.

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Heart Transplant for MT-BC

Sometimes music therapists hone their clinical skills and expertise through first hand experience. That was, indeed, the case for board certified music therapist Beth Beathard who had only worked 6 months as an MT-BC before she had the first of many serious life-threatening heart events. After 18 difficult months, her medical condition deteriorated to the point of needing a heart transplant. In this compelling AMTA-Pro podcast, Beth describes the physical and emotional challenges she experienced during those months, shares some thoughts about her “self-directed” music therapy, and talks about her personal and professional growth in the seven years since her transplant. Beth’s rocky journey led her from depression, fear and anxiety into a place of hope and sincere gratitude, along with a solid contract for music therapy in a senior living center and the exciting possibility of hospital-based music therapy services for transplant patients. Beth’s AMTA-Pro podcast is being released the week of February 14 – National Donor Day – in celebration of her successful heart transplant and re-entry into her career as a music therapist.

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MT for Survivors of Violence

Violence against women is recognized by the World Health Organization as a serious and pervasive healthcare issue internationally. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Dr. Sandi Curtis, music therapy professor and clinician, talks about the need for music therapists to be well informed about the latest in research and clinical strategies for helping victims recover and thrive. She talks about her clinical work over the years and challenges her colleagues to get involved. The prevalence of the problem indicates all music therapists will most likely encounter survivors of violence in their daily work. Awareness of the challenges and knowledge of evidence-based approaches equips music therapists to provide provide sensitive, evidence based, effective services for women survivors of violence.

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Therapeutic Musicians & Music Therapists

Both music therapists and therapeutic musicians provide services in health care settings. In 2015, there were 5,000 hospitals with over 1 million beds, 16,000 nursing homes with over 2 million beds, and 5,800 hospices serving 1 million people. Given there are currently about 6,500 board certified music therapists and 1,200 therapeutic musicians, and because we all want music available to all these people, it is advisable to recognize the continuum of services and to collaborate rather than compete to increase overall access. This AMTA-Pro podcast features representatives from both groups – Dee Sweeney of the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians (NSBTM) and Judy Simpson of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) – conversing about the similarities and differences between music therapy and therapeutic music, and encouraging their colleagues to learn more about both professions. Judy and Dee offer solid recommendations for educating colleagues, administrators, and clients about both music therapy and therapeutic music, and for facilitating conflict resolution when misunderstandings arise. They also discuss specific ways to foster cooperation and explore possible collaborative projects between the two professions.

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Defining Therapeutic Function of Music

Music is a complex intervention strategy, thus the characteristics of the music are important to therapeutic outcomes. Greater clarity for the role of the musical elements in therapeutic outcomes is desired; yet few strategic methods support the description of the musical elements in the development of treatment interventions. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Dr. Deanna Hanson-Abromeit overviews an article published in Music Therapy Perspectives, Volume 33,  A Conceptual Methodology to Define the Therapeutic Function of Music. The article proposes an ante-hoc worksheet to articulate the Therapeutic Function of Music (TFM) Plan. This worksheet helps the music therapist organize the relationship between the treatment goal, theoretical framework and musical elements in order to define the purpose and intent of each musical element. The result is a theory-based synthesis of the music as a whole for therapeutic intervention. The TFM Plan will benefit music therapy with stronger explanations of the therapeutic effect of music, generate consistent application of music characteristics for therapeutic response, support predictable outcomes, and foster a specialized understanding of music as a therapeutic medium differentiated from other professionals using music-based interventions.

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Music Therapy @ The Bridge

Have you read the book or seen the movie, The Soloist? Did you meet Nathaniel Ayers, the subject of the movie, when he jammed with Al Bumanis at the AMTA conference several years ago? Did you know that, as a result of that connection with Nathaniel Ayers, a music therapy program has been launched at The Bridge, a homeless recovery center in downtown Dallas? Did you know that the music therapy program is an integral part of the Behavioral Health Care services at The Bridge serving many individuals who are dealing with mental illness and/or chemical dependency? This AMTA-Pro podcast features a conversation with some of the key players in the process of launching this music therapy program. Nathaniel Ayers’ sister Jennifer talks about her brother’s study at Julliard, the impact of schizophrenia on his life, their introduction to music therapy by Al Bumanis at an AMTA conference, and her interest in having music therapy services in implemented in homeless recovery services around the country. Sam Merton, CAO at The Bridge, continues the podcast conversation with a brief history and overview of the innovative homeless recovery services offered at The Bridge for thousands of individuals, many of whom are dealing with mental illness or chemical dependency. Board certified music therapist Kamica King tells AMTA-Pro listeners how the music therapy program unfolded at The Bridge and plans for expanding music therapy services. This podcast conversation is just one example of the impact of teamwork on expanding music therapy services for individuals in homeless recovery programs as well as numerous other populations and clinical settings.

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Music-centered Music Therapy

Music therapists recognize our clients often want the same thing from music therapy as all people want from music: an essentially musical experience that meets an inborn need. In music-centered thinking, musical experiences are not merely tools to nonmusical ends, but can also serve as appropriate goals of music therapy. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Dr. Ken Aigen talks about two main topics: a critique of some aspects of the conventional wisdom about the nature of music therapy (as embodied in the tenets of evidence-based practice), and a discussion of some of the attributes of an alternative vision of music therapy known as music-centered music therapy.

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From Illness to Health

Although each person’s experience with illness is different, their initial discomfort and concerns increase as the signs and symptoms of illness emerge. The path from illness to health moves past that initial onset state through the phases of diagnosis, acceptance, treatment, recovery, rehabilitation, and re-entry to the world of the healthy. AMTA-Pro podcast speakers, Dr. Suzanne Hanser and Jeniris González, overview of the role music therapy can play in each stage of the journey from the onset of illness to a new healthy identity. They also discuss some evidence-based music therapy strategies for the management of stress, pain, unpleasant symptoms, response to illness, and treatment side effects, while enhancing the quality of life.  The text section of this podcast provides resources and samples of songwriting and other interventions as well as templates for a music listening log, for songwriting, and for planning effective music interventions in each stage of the journey from illness to health.

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Understanding Military Culture

After earning the rank of Captain in the United States Navy and serving for 25 years, Becky Jo Watson retired and earned her MT-BC status. She recently sat down in front of the AMTA-Pro microphone to share her experiences and unique insights in an effort to help her music therapy colleagues understand military culture in order to better serve active duty military members and veterans. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Becky talks about the pressing need for more music therapy services, and she shares 7 C’s – basic principles for music therapists to consider when developing music therapy services and strategies for contributions to readiness, rehabilitation, recovery, and wellness among America’s military populations, both active duty service members and veterans.

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AMTA-Pro is filled to the brim with a wealth of podcasts featuring your colleagues sharing reflections, strategies, insider tips, and details about every aspect of music therapy. Don't miss even one of several dozen AMTA-Pro podcasts on a wide variety of topics, including:
+ Music therapy programs, clinical applications, and research in a broad range of areas such as Alzheimer's disease, eating disorders, stroke rehab, inpatient mental health, early childhood behavior issues, medical settings, wellness, NICU, wound care, hospice, and more.
+ Job Solutions, reimbursement, networking, and thriving in any economy.
+ Interviews with music therapy professionals, students, and interns, as well as special guests.
+ Podcasts capturing special AMTA events, conference speakers, and memorial tributes.


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