Tag Archives: PTSD

An Internship Highlight

I’ve cleaned out my cubicle. Today marked my final day and exit interview for my internship with MusicWorx inc. in San Diego, CA after 1,088 clincial hours. Where do I even begin? Words can’t even describe how fast my internship experience has gone by.  Wasn’t I just driving across the country to get here? Better yet, wasn’t I just applying for internships? Even though it has gone by so fast, I look back to the beginning of my internship and it seems like a completely different time.  The growth I’ve seen in myself both as a therapist and a person really says something about the experiences I had throughout my time.  I also had the unique opportunity to work with three different teams, seven wonderful young therapists, learning something from every person.  My patients and clients were the most beautiful people I’ve ever met.  They reminded me why I wanted to be a music therapist in the first place.   I know that every day I spent doing this work was wonderful and meaningful.  I went home everyday with a smile on my face.  I feel like a well-rounded, determined therapist, and I’m so excited to step into the professional world and get my career off the ground.

I would first like to summarize the populations I experienced and the work I did with them:


General Hospital: Surgical Acute, Sub-Acute, Oncology, Neurology and Intensive Care

I facilitated bedside and group music therapy sessions with patients throughout the full six-month period.  This has involved collaboration with registered nurses, social workers, physical and occupational therapists, as well as physicians.  Duties included charting in the hospital charts, using a MusicWorx documentation log, and entering data into the computer.  Goals with medical patients included relaxation; pain, anxiety, and nausea management; psychological, family, and comfort support; fine and gross motor movement; cognitive stimulation and orientation through reminiscence; speech initiation; emotional expression/release. I primarly tended to referrals on both the Oncology and Cardiology floors.

Children’s Hospital,  Cardiology Unit, NICU

Observation of ten bedside music therapy sessions within two weeks.   Referrals were obtained through interactions with Child Life Specialists and Registered Nurses.  Goals included reduction of anxiety, socialization, creative expression, family support, fine and gross motor movement, emotional expression, and normalization of the hospital environment.


Center for Integrative Medicine – Lifestyle Change Program

I co-facilitated weekly music therapy sessions for adults prone to heart disease, type A personalities as well as those in need of lifestyle change, wellness facilitation, and disease prevention.  Sessions were held weekly throughout the full six months.  Interventions focused on promoting self-awareness, enhancing creativity, and providing relaxation and stress management techniques.

Breast Care Center, Cancer Support Group

I co-facilitated throughout two, six-week series on music and medicine for a cancer support and wellness group.  Experiences for the support group focused on promoting wellness through creative expression, relaxation and stress management. Provided tools for group members so that they may implement them into their daily lives.

Parkinson’s Exercise Group

I co-facilitated with physical and occupational therapists a twice-weekly music-centered exercise group for older adults with Parkinson’s disease.  Neurological Music Therapy techniques were used, incorporating a variety of instruments along with exercise and stretching and cognitive stimulation, to promote physical wellness. The last 15-minutes of the group were focused exclusively on music therapy goals.

Pulmonary Rehabilitation Group

I co-facilitated a two, four-week series for adults in a pulmonary rehabilitation group.  Experiences for this group focused on using the harmonica and breathing exercises for breath support, rehabilitation for effective respiration, relaxation and music making.

Substance Abuse

Adult Drug and Alcohol Abuse Group

I facilitated music therapy sessions weekly for residents in a 28-day inpatient substance abuse treatment program.  Interventions focused on learning alternative coping skills, creative expression and creating a sense of community amongst group members.

Adults with Developmental Disabilities      

Individual Music Therapy

I led and led one-on-one music therapy sessions for an adult client with Rett’s Syndrome during the first 2-months of internship.  Interventions focused on increasing sensory orientation, facilitating motor movement, relaxation and end-of-life and comfort support.

Center for Adults with Devlopmental Disabilities

I led and co-led group music therapy sessions for adults of varying developmental disabilities, including autism and deaf and blindness, for the first three months of my internship. Interventions focused on communication with staff and peers, increasing choice-making skills, facilitation of motor movement, direction following and increasing attention.

Older Adults

Senior Living Residency and Memory Locked Unit

I facilitated music therapy sessions with clients in an assisted living facility five times during internship.  Interventions focused on active listening, therapeutic singing, memory recall, instrumental improvisation, and motor movement.


Hospice and Palliative Care Nursing Facility

I facilitated individual and small group (2 roommates, family members and staff) music therapy sessions with clients in an acute care inpatient hospice for the duration of my internship.  Interventions consisted of therapeutic singing, music making, song writing, music improvisation, cognitive functioning, and normalization to the hospice environment all focusing on comfort support, emotional expression, psychosocial and family support.


Parent and Child Bonding Groups

I facilitated and co-facilitated bi-monthly music therapy to teen moms and their babies.   Groups focused on socialization, creating a strong bond between the moms and babies, gross/fine motor skills, and cognitive skills.

Homeless Program

I facilitated and co-facilitated bi-monthly recreational music making groups for women and men who are homeless throughout all six months of internship. Groups focused on comfort support, emotional and creative expression, as well as recreational music making.

Women Victims

I co-led and led group music therapy sessions for homeless, abused, and/or battered women during my last three months.  Interventions used in the group provided opportunities for individual empowerment, self-awareness, stress-reduction, group support, and emotional release.

Military/PTSD/Substance Abuse

I co-facilitated music therapy sessions for a cohort of military men dealing with PTSD and substance abuse as part of their recovery program.  Interventions focused on self expression, stress managemnet, effective tools for emotional release and group support.

Resounding Joy, Inc.

I participated in a 12-hour training course for volunteers with Resounding Joy.  I mentored Joy Givers thorughout this experience.

6+ Professional Presentations and Public Drum Circles

Internship Project

My internship project dealt with the creative vision, compilation, editing, lay-out design, formatting and marketing of a book entitled: ‘Six-Month Chrysalis.’ This book included stories and higlights from all 109 past MusicWorx intern’s, an introduction and conclusion wrote by myself, study questions for professors and universities to utilize, and an index for easy population search.  Beginning stages of the project consisted of organizing all patient highlights digitally, compiling all different devices holding highlights, and creating one master list.  The file system for patient highlights was also edited for future organization of the highlights.  Finally, researching printing possibilites, coming up with marketing strategies for the publication, sending out release forms to former interns and evaluating end-stage edits of the book.

Case Study

My case study was completed throughout my internship.  It focused around the utilization of the iPad within various populations.  I conducted seven sessions where the iPad was incorporated: Adolescent, older adult group, child with Dandy’s Walker syndrome, older adult in hospice care, adult with leukemia in a long-term hospitalization, and classrooms of adults with developmental disabilities.  Different applications were brought into the sessions to observe responses to the device.  Results demonstrated benefits and positive results from the implementation of the device.

To all current students and interns:

1.  Take each day as it comes.  Internship goes by SO fast.  Really embrace and learn from each and every day.

2.  You’ll get out of your experience what you put into it.  Push yourself every day, step out of the box, and stretch your limits.  It’ll be worth it.

3.  Remember to breath.  As I ALWAYS tell my patients: “When we are in high stress situations we forget to breath; take time to center yourself, reflect on what’s important and breath.”

Thank you so much to my wonderful support system throughout this experience: My AMAZING internship director, my supervisors, my wonderful team(s), and most importantly, my patients.  You have shaped me into the therapist I am.  


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