There I was, enjoying the lunch buffet at a great Mediterranean place, when I saw it...another article claiming a music therapy program, and a music therapist posting the article, asking if local MT's could verify if a music therapist was running the program. Part of a comment I could read on the post said something like "Maybe if enough of us contact..."
This. Must. Stop.
Let me first say that the title of this post annoys me.
It's a teaser, meant to draw you in...raise your curiosity...get you hooked.
I dislike resorting to such tactics, but I need your complete and undivided attention.
Let me be crystal clear about this: policing non music therapists claiming to provide music therapy must stop right now. Not later...NOW!
Unless AMTA is going to trademark the term "music therapy", set up a huge legal division to destroy anyone who uses the trademark without proper credentialing, (which will never happen for multiple reasons) then we need to stop policing the world.
Listen up people...each of us gets 86,400 seconds in any one 24 hour period. How do you want to spend yours? Whining about everyone who improperly uses the term "music therapy?" How about ignoring all of that stuff, giving it your all everyday and educating as you go?
Think about it! "Therapy" is a buzz word right now. People play with the word ALL THE TIME.
Wine therapy, retail therapy, drum therapy...
When was the last time you heard of a vintner going off on someone for saying "wine therapy?"
Does not happen.
Now here's the tender and compassionate part of this post: it's not your fault.
When I was a student music therapist, it was drilled into us:
"Learn to document everything extremely well...it could be the difference between you keeping your job or losing it."
"You constantly have to justify what you do, because most people won't understand."
That along with the phrase "Music therapists are the happiest poor people in the world, because we love what we do, but we're not well paid."
Take a moment, and check in with yourself after reading those phrases.
How do you feel?
Insecure? Scared? Like there won't be enough pie for dessert?
OF COURSE YOU DO!
I mean, I remember wanting to curl up with my blankie and some hot chocolate after hearing these things!
We learned to be crusaders for our beloved profession, and let's be clear that no one stays long in music therapy unless they love it. We learned to fight for truth, justice and music therapy provided by qualified music therapists who have completed an approved course of study and six month internship at an approved...
Can we stop using that wordy explanation please? Eyes glaze over about three words into, and no one understands what we're talking about anyway. Keep it simple! "Yes, I had to go to school for this, no it's not new...established in 1950, yeah, it is a really cool job."
We see all of these people, well intentioned people, who I believe truly want to help others, kind of crowding our turf. Therapeutic musicians, healing musicians, volunteer musicians...they love music, and they want to help people, just like we do. We offer things they can't. It doesn't mean that there won't be pie for us.
If you feel like you have to fight for a position that ends up hiring one of these other music types, then it wasn't the position for you anyway. Trust the process. The general public is going to figure it out sooner or later, without us calling out every bozo saying they are doing music therapy. They're going to figure it!
So let me put it to you this way: all those sayings that we're familiar with, like, "what goes around, comes around" and "you get out of it what you put into it" and "your focus determines your reality"...
All of those phrases have something in common: the law of attraction.
Unless you've been off the grid since the 1980's, you've heard about the law of attraction. Abraham Hicks teaches about it all the time, the 2006 movie "The Secret" describes it...countless books, articles, blog posts, YouTube videos...
In simple terms, the law of attraction states that what we put out into the Universe, emotionally, and thus energetically, we draw to us. And in my experience, the Universe is like a small child...neither hears any form of the word "no." We've all seen a parent chasing a toddler saying "Don't run!"
What happens? The toddler runs FASTER!
Small children and the Universe can't comprehend "no."
When we are ever vigilant for those cretins who capitalize on our hard work and defile the name of our profession, what energy does that put out? When we live in fear that jobs might be taken away from us, we embrace an air of scarcity...like there's not going to be enough to go around.
What do we get from that? We have contracts renegotiated, undercutting anything resembling a livable wage, let alone something that allows us to thrive. What have hours cut, or we simply have positions cut.
How often do we say amongst ourselves and to others, "It seems like no one knows what music therapy is!"
What do we gain by that? More and more people seem to be surprised that such a thing exists!
MT is not THAT much younger than PT, OT and Speech, and everyone has at least a cursory knowledge of those professions. Okay, I still get a lot of questions about OT...
In "The Secret" someone mentions Mother Teresa's understanding of the law of attraction. She was quoted as saying, "I'm not interested in joining your anti-war protest, but if you ever have a peace rally, I'll be there."
This is a simple reframing of thoughts and emotions and yet quite powerful. Focusing on the "wanted" in life as opposed to the "unwanted."
Think about it: War on Poverty, War on Drugs, War on Terror...do we still have these things?
I'd say, in general, we're poorer, higher and more scared than ever!
Point being, we reap what we sow. If we keep sowing seeds of lack and scarcity and fear that I may not have my job next week if I don't justify my profession, then we will continue to draw those things we resist toward us.
Stop wasting time defending what we do. Instead, go do it!
Each and every one of you is responsible for this. Continue with confidence and courage. Let go of scarcity and fear. This profession has evolved beyond the days of music therapists being "happy poor people." Our profession is fluid and dynamic. Each of us is responsible for focusing on where we want our profession to go.
Look up Abraham Hicks, listen and learn. Stop policing...it's outside of our scope of practice anyway!
Let the charlatans do what they will. We remain, calm and confident in our chosen path, which is ever moving forward to greater things.
Do what you do, and do it extremely well.
That will be enough.