I completed my music therapy internship in an inpatient physical rehabilitation hospital working primarily with adults who had brain injuries. Some patients had been involved in car accidents, some had a stroke, others had neurological diseases, but they all wound up in my office looking to a team of specialists (including a board certified music therapist) to help them with their cognitive and physical functioning. After their inpatient stay, patients were discharged home or to a facility to get on with their lives complete with a discharge plan to help them continue recovery.
Music therapy played a vital part in the recovery process for many of my patients, particularly when it came to working on impulse control, following directions, improving articulation and clarity of speech, and organizing both fine and gross motor functions. When they were discharged home, their plans often times included provisions for continued outpatient speech therapy, physical therapy, or occupational therapy, but to my knowledge never music therapy.
The road to recovery from a brain injury doesn’t end when a patient leaves the hospital. I’ve had the privilege of working with two different adult clients with brain injuries since coming to The George Center. With one client, we’ve been working together to improve her cognition to organize information, so that she can fully devote herself to her studies in college and be able to manage the tasks necessary for holding a job. We’ve also gotten to work on giving her back some physical skills necessary for playing her violin which were impacted because of her brain injury. In our session this week we even started building an adaptive device for her bow to help her play with more stability since her right hand shakes.
Other clients with brain injuries need a place to process the dramatic changes that have happened in their lives and work through all that they are facing. There’s a place for all of these things (and more) within an outpatient music therapy setting.