Because MT-BCs respond to unit needs throughout the hospital system, Houston Methodist recognizes music therapy as an opportunity to provide opportunities for self-care, wellness support, and resilience training for the staff. In this AMTA-Pro podcast, three of our music therapy colleagues, Jennifer Townsend, Virginia Gray, and Audrey Zybura, share details about their program that provides both wellness support and staff care for their fellow healthcare professionals at Houston Methodist. They talk about various aspects of the programs, including boundaries, collaboration, costs, and specific unit needs, and the music therapy team shares a number of creativity-focused and education-focused opportunities that have proven helpful to staff. The music therapists also discuss points music therapists would want to consider when establishing a resiliency and staff care program. The podcast notes include resources, details about their program, and an outline for establishing similar support in other agencies.


Resiliency & Staff Care Program Model 

AMTA-Pro Podcast October 2020

Jennifer Townsend, MMT-MT-BC; Virginia Gray, MT-BC; Audrey Zybura, MT-BC

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AMTA-Pro Podcast Discussion Outline
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1. Introduction to Burnout, Resilience, and Moral Injury
     A. Statistics
     B. Psychological injury definitions
     C. Wellness
     D. Care
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2. Two types of resiliency programs: Wellness Support and Staff Care
     A. Wellness Support
          1. Considerations
          2. Boundaries debriefing
          3. Sample activities
     B. Staff Care
          1. Considerations
          2. Boundaries debriefing
          3. Sample activities
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3. Steps for developing Wellness Support and/or Staff Care programs
     A Recognizing a need for Wellness Support and/or Staff Care at a facility or agency
     B. Beginning the planning process.
     C. Considerations when developing a program.
          1. Who is the best person to take the lead in developing this opportunity?
          2. Who can collaborate or co-facilitate? Who will be the official manager or supervisor?
          3. What are the specific needs for various staff groups in the facility?
          4. What is the name for the Wellness Support or Staff Care program?
          5. Who is the main contact(s) for the units or staff groups that might participate?
          6. What are the costs in relation to supplies and time for facilitating these services?
          7. What about time, costs, types and depth of services, referrals, and other logistics?
          8 . What steps will maintain professional boundaries?
          9. What referral resources can you offer?
          10. What are the plans for debriefing for the program facilitators?
          11. How will feedback be gathered? How will supervision be provided?
     D. Considerations specific to Wellness Support
          1. How a person contributes to their environment and community.
           2. How to build better living spaces and social networks.
          3. Enrichment of life through work and its interconnectedness to living and playing.
          4. The development of belief systems, values, and creating a world-view.
          5. The benefits of regular physical activity, healthy eating habits, strength and vitality.
          6. The benefits of personal responsibility & self-care. When to seek medical attention.
          7. Self-esteem, self-control, and determination as a sense of direction.
          8. Creative and stimulating mental activities, and sharing your gifts with others.
          9. Find meaning in your work.
     E. Considerations specific to Staff Care
          1. How was a person related to the event?
          2. What are pre-existing thoughts and perceptions?
          3. What are pre-existing thoughts and perceptions?
          4. How does this align with the person’s core values?
          5. How does this conflict with the person’s core values?
          6. Does this change the person’s professional role or function in the workplace?
          7. What are the person’s personal resources that will help them cope?
          8. How can the person integrate new thoughts in response to the event?
          9.  How does the person identify when they need to reach out for additional support?
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4. Please refer to this Resiliency powerpoint for program details and examples of services.
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Dean, W. & Talbot, S. (2019). Moral injury and burnout in medicine: a year of lessons learned. Retrieved from:

Dyrbye, L. N., Shanafelt, T. D., Sinsky, C. A., Cipriano, P. F., Bhatt, J., Ommaya, A., … Meyers, D. (2017).

Burnout Among Health Care Professionals: A Call to Explore and Address This Underrecognized Threat
to Safe, High-Quality Care. NAM Perspectives, 7(7). doi: 10.31478/201707b

Miriam- Webester. (2019). Wellness. Retrieved from:

National Wellness Institute. (N.A.). Six dimensions of wellness. Retrieved from:

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About the AMTA-Pro Speakers
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Intrigued with how prevalent music is to the human experience, Jennifer Townsend, MMT, MT-BC began studying the impact of the music on health as a teenager and hasn’t stopped. After receiving a bachelor degree in Music Therapy from Sam Houston State University she began working with pediatric patients who had disorders of consciousness. Her experiences with this population and their families lead her to further develop her understanding of how to use music for healing and brought pushed her to gain a Master’s degree in Music Therapy from Temple University. After a decade of working in pediatrics, Jennifer now works in adult medical care. As the Manager for Creative Arts Therapies at Houston Methodist she pilots programing in order to grow the footprint of music therapy throughout the hospital, participates and runs studies in research related to music therapy and music medicine and provides clinical supervision to the music therapy staff. Jennifer embraces an integrative philosophy which guides her practice and research. To this end, she has published articles relating to technology in music therapy, music therapy in epilepsy and neonatal treatment, and neurological constructs of music to guide practice and application. Additionally, she has a chapter on Medically Fragile Children in the Guidelines for Music Therapy Practice in Pediatrics. Jennifer’s passion for arts in healthcare pushes her to advocate continuously at local, state and national levels and serve arts and health organizations through board and committee positions.
Contact Jennifer Townsend MMT, MT-BC at <> or 713-441-9231.
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Virginia B. Gray, MT-BC has served as a board-certified music therapist since 2007.  She currently works as a music therapist for The Center for Performing Arts Medicine at Houston Methodist Hospital. Virginia triages all music therapy orders for inpatient acute care and critical care units at Houston Methodist Hospital, who do not currently have a music therapist assigned to their department. During this pandemic, she is focusing on providing care for COVID positive patients and their families. Virginia’s role as a MT-BC includes assisting with the following: piloting music therapy programs, music therapy research, music therapy program development, music therapy student supervision, and music therapy-informed staff care services for wellness and crisis intervention. Virginia earned a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance from The University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from University of The Incarnate Word in San Antonio.  She has advanced training in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery in Music, Motivational Interviewing, the Music Therapy Assessment Tool for Awareness in Disorders of Consciousness, neurologic music therapy, music therapy in palliative care, research design, and trauma-informed care.
Contact Virginia Gray MT-BC <> or 346-238-4194.
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Audrey Zybura, MT-BC is the Board-Certified Music Therapist for the inpatient acute psychiatric unit at Houston Methodist Hospital in the Texas Medical Center, where she provides individual and group music therapy sessions plus co-treat groups with occupational therapy colleagues. She enjoys developing unique opportunities for patients on this unit to encourage empowerment and self-agency in managing mental health as well as to promote connection with others and a sense of belonging within the Houston community. Audrey also offers staff support for other teams in the hospital to promote wellbeing and healthy stress management through music. Beyond the workplace, Audrey has organized an educational group for local interdisciplinary professionals to learn about applying trauma informed principles and practices to various clinical settings.
Contact Audrey Zybura MT-BC at <> or 713-441-1799.