The blog post that was going to kick 2015 off with a bang...
If you were talking to me in the latter half of 2014, this is what I dreamt of sharing with you all in my first blog post of 2015.
After spending the last two years seeking an appropriate clinic to base Press Play from, I finally found one that ticks all the boxes required for a music therapy space:
aligns with my personal and professional values
not too big for individual work
not too small for group work
Yes, I will be renting a space every Thursday for the next three months with the view of continuing for the remainder of 2015.
I am also launching a series of monthly workshops where I’ll have invited therapists (from all walks of life), artists and other people with experiences and skills to share; to build a community for sustainable mental health and wellness. On top of that, I’ve been working through some business courses that will mean I can establish Press Play as a sustainable business.
This story was true as of late last year. I’d started connecting with a new and exciting psychology practice, Little Window and we started the conversations that would see me practicing from their little studio. People coming in for Press Play would be greeted with a cup of tea of their choice while waiting for me and I would practice from a space that had a bohemian, yet professional feel to it. I was also engaging in some self-paced business courses which were giving me some great ideas for helping Press Play to work towards a vision.
Then life happened, as it does and brought some unexpected professional change that I was equally scared and excited by.
“One of the things that will always be inevitable is change, full of both vague uncertainty and brilliant promise.”
So. What Happened?
Well, let me take you back to 2009, so I can link it together for you (or you can just skip down to the very bottom and get to the punch line!).
When I first became registered as a music therapist, I was fortunate to gain work at a private mental health hospital. This was where my passion for recovery focused mental health and psychiatry came in and my deep respect for every human on this planet (including myself!) grew. I got to work with various teams and projects, while being influenced by multiple models of psychiatry and psychotherapy. I loved my job. I began to notice the gaps between what people could access whilst in hospital and those who fell through the gaps – by either not being ‘unwell’ enough to be in hospital – and those who being in a mental health hospital was not an option. I became most interested in the sustainability of mental health treatment and empowering people to build the resources and resilience they needed to move through arising stressors and traumas in a way that not only assisted with crisis management, but also enhanced their overall quality of life.
So I began part-time work at a community family-centred early intervention music therapy organisation – which works with people on the ground from a solution-focused, community development model. I worked part time with this organisation while reducing my hours to part time at the hospital. This work place not only deepened my respect for the people I worked with, but grew my absolute admiration for what people can achieve when under the driving pressures of life.
Working these two jobs, however increased my awareness of the gaps in mental health services. So in 2013, I started Press Play – as a way to hopefully soften these gaps and increase the quality of services available to those who potentially live in these gaps. My one day of work with Press Play was without a doubt the highlight of my week.
Last year brought some more unexpected change and I landed in a children’s hospital. I continued working one day a week with Press Play and spent the rest of my week filling the gaps in my own clinical experience. In all of my work, I longed to gain experience in some of the most acute situations – where intense trauma, pain and distress lie. While sensory-based, creative and music therapy research is building in this area – pharmacological intervention is the most widely recognised treatment, and is therefore the first ‘port of call.’ So, when I was offered an opportunity to work in a hospital where they are trying to reduce pharmacological intervention – I knew this was important for me. I am now building my music therapy skills in the acute settings to reduce the impact of medical intervention – while reducing pain, distress, anxiety and trauma for the infant, child, young person and their family - and reducing the need for pharmacological intervention.
Then a few weeks ago, I was offered full-time work at this children's hospital. After doing everything I could to avoid ever working full-time again, I felt a tug towards this – and I decided it was exactly what I needed for my own health, personal and professional growth.
So in a few weeks, I am beginning full-time work. Why? To put it simply, I’m so passionate about leading a mindful life – that I decided that working one day-job without having the [internal] pressures of managing Press Play after a normal work day would allow me to lead a more mindful and ‘well’ life for myself.
So what does that mean for Press Play?
Press Play does not finish here, it’s just having a slight change of direction. I will no longer personally accept new referrals, but will forward them on to other quality local music therapists. Instead, my focus on Press Play is going to be on advocacy, sharing what music therapy is about and how it can fill some of the gaps in mental health services - via occasional blog posts. I will also accept invitations to facilitate workshops and one-off events.
While, my experience and knowledge suggests that I cannot predict the future – I feel like it’s safe to say that Press Play will continually evolve and change in its own time. I definitely won’t draw out the possibility of being able to say what I hoped to say in this very blog post – when the time is right.
Thank you to each and every one of you for your ongoing support of Press Play. Here's to a 2015 of building the resources and resilience you need to move through the struggles, and the space you need to build a life that prioritises your health and wellness - so you can also 'press play.'
Would you like to find a music therapist? Go to www.austmta.org.au to find a music therapist in your area.
I am available for workshop facilitation by invitation only. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.