One thing school doesn’t necessarily prepare you for? Dealing with patients who are rapidly declining. It can be extrememly heart wrentching and emotional for everyone around them- including you, the therapist. Today was one of those days. Not only did a patient pass away moments after I was in the room with them, but a patient I felt a huge connection with last week has since declined to a nearly delusional and comatose state. I left my morning sessions feeling emotional and off balanced.
How do we deal with moments like these… especially students and interns who are still fresh in the field? Even for a seasoned professional, days like this can have a real impact. At times it can be a real taboo topic to admit you have a connection with a patient, that you felt something, and that you’re having a hard time separating that from your personal life. It has to leak into it somehow, right?… we’re only human afterall.
So here is my conclusion:
- Life happens.. it’s how you handle it that’s important.
- It’s ok to ask for help and admit you need someone to talk to.
- Human connection is inevitable- but that’s what is also so incredible about our job as a music therapist
- Separating home from work is critical- but it’s also ok to let those experiences teach you a lot about life and yourself
- It’s all part of growing as a person and a professional
- Journal, write, play music, do a mandala- express what you’re feeling and process it
- Talk to someone you trust so you can process what you’re feeling
- Know your limits