Last week I was due up for a dental check-up and as a new resident to Atlanta, I visited a new dentist. As this was a first time visit, I came prepared with my "elevator speech" to answer the inevitable question: "So what do you do? Music therapy? What's that?"
In this line of work, you get quite skilled at answering that question, and I had multiple opportunities this trip, as expected. But when the dentist came in to meet me, I was surprised by his initial reaction:
"So what do you do?"
"Well, I'm a music therapist."
"Ah! Do you have issues with other healthcare professionals taking your field seriously?"
Wow, good question! I almost stumbled over my answer, ready to dive into my music therapy spiel. While I love telling people about my job, it was a nice change of pace and an opportunity to talk about my field from a different angle.
I went on to tell him that usually, other allied health professionals are quite open to what we do. That's not to say we don't encounter resistance (we do), but in some ways, folks working in healthcare understand what we do more frequently than the general population. They work with the same patients we do, they know firsthand the challenges they face, but they also understand the value of a multimodal approach, such as music therapy.
Music therapists aren't out to replace any other healthcare profession. On the contrary! There's a growing body of research that suggests music therapy works well in conjunction with other, more established approaches in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders. There's even a very exciting article currently in-press that shows that patients who received music therapy services during their hospital stay experienced a higher level of satisfaction with all aspects of their hospital stay than patients who did not receive music therapy services.
More research is needed on this topic, but the current base offers reasons to be very optimistic.
If your healthcare facility is interested in offering music therapy, The George Center is ready to help you every step of the way from planning to staffing! Contact us today to get started!