In the next two posts, Music Therapy intern Heather Foxwell shares some final thoughts and personal stories as her internship winds to a close.
It’s easy to forget just how much of an impact you can have on a person simply by playing some music with them. Also, it is even more surprising to realize that you not only impact the patient you work with, but the entire family. I got to really experience this at the memorial service last week for Season’s Hospice bereaved families.
One family came up to me afterward and greeted me as if I was one of the family; a very warm embrace, hug, and heartfelt wondering of how I was doing and what I would be doing after my internship. They expressed that my presence, though quite brief with their deceased loved one, was very calming and transformative for both the patient and the family.
This definitely warmed my heart. Just to think of the idea that I, a young twenty-four year old student who happens to play music and happens to have some knowledge in the field of therapy can come into someone’s room, play some meaningful music with therapeutic goals in mind for thirty minutes or so, and then be described as “calming and transformative” to a family’s loved one, is quite moving. It is a feeling that one does not usually come by, unless you are in the field of healing.
It heals me just to hear things like this! Another example of this was when I simply played for a funeral up at Mount Saint Auburn’s Cemetery, shared a simple story about our loved ones passing on, sang a few songs, and then was invited to dinner with the family and paid double the amount I asked for. I hadn’t even met the deceased loved one! Wow. This is powerful stuff.
So this is the upside to my internship. But with every up, comes a ‘down’ so to say.
When it comes to music therapy in the moment; being right there with a patient in the therapeutic process, my supervisor tells me I shine. But when it comes to the administrative details; the organization, the communication, the deadlines, and meetings, I have quite a ways to go.
It has been such an obstacle for me that I even have a warning hanging over my head after 5 months of work. I think I would be crushed to be dismissed after so much progress, but I feel this mandate is well deserved.
I am inching closer to understanding how I operate as a professional in this world. Although it may not be in my nature to be the most organized individual, it is definitely a skill that I am really learning to flex right now.
Being so acutely aware of this hindrance during the last few months as been rather painful for me as well as eye-opening. It is a delicate balance that I have to learn to teeter. I am trying to not be too hard on myself while also being consistent and on top of my duties and responsibilities as a music therapy intern. Although the road so far has been bumpy, I have no doubt that I can tackle this setback with a little time.
I had quite a limited exposure to this much responsibility before starting this internship. The nature of my role in my family, along with the annoyance of being labeled ADHD (whether I believe this or not) has hindered me in this area and I am seeing just how severe of a degree this has been during my internship experience. That is why I believe it is such a great idea to offer young people internship oppurtunities. It is kind of like the limbo stage between student to professional and it is MUCH MUCH needed in today’s fast-paced society.
I think the good sides definitely outweigh the bad sides, at least in my mind.
I remember my friend asked me the other day what I do to feel good about myself. I told her, “take a bath, listen to some music, and work with my patients in music therapy.”
And it feels so good to know I really mean that.
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