Article by music therapy intern, Becca Dideum
During my sophomore year of college, I went through a plant-hoarding phase. That is, I thoroughly enjoyed walking aimlessly through the numerous, filled greenhouses that were down the street from ECU and buying every plant in sight. I particularly loved the Norfolk Island Pines, the bleeding hearts, and the little pepper plants. By the second semester of that year, I had no less than thirty plants in my tiny apartment room… and I wish I were kidding.
In addition to buying all the plants I could get my hands on, I bought and planted seeds. Years later, I still have about ten of my original plants, including a hibiscus tree and some cacti that I managed to grow from seeds. Out of the six or seven cacti seeds I planted, four grew into actual, living cacti, and they survived the trip to Georgia with me this past year!
A few weeks ago, I repotted the cacti for the first time in their lives. They hadn’t grown any taller in years, from what I could see. I put each cactus into their very own pot and placed them on the back porch where they would get sun and rain. A few days later I went to check on them, and they had doubled in size! My tiny cacti had grown inches in a matter of days just because I gave them fresh mulch and room to grow.
Looking back on it, it’s simple science. I gave those plants the tools they needed to thrive, and they did so. Since coming to the George Center, I’ve had the pleasure of serving many different clients with many different treatment plans. Up until very recently, I was stuck using the same songs repeatedly for my clients. As soon as I started branching out and using songs and activities that not only motivated my clients but also allowed them to be the most successful, I saw a change in my clients’ growth.
By keeping my clients in the same pot, so to speak, with the same song and dance, I was hindering their growth. Through my exploration of new territory, my clients are able to spread their roots and have the most successful sessions. Whenever I get stuck while writing session plans, I remember how small my cacti used to be, and how a simple act of “fresh mulch” can do wonders for growth.