I quickly had to think, “What does this little boy absolutely LOVE?”

This months blog is going to focus on intuition for what to do and when at a particular moment in the sessions.
I was recently interviewed by a HS student and one of her questions was,” Is there a particular music you use in your sessions?” My answer was,” NO, I use music that ranges from familiar children’s songs to Bon Jovi”.
In thinking about intuition and what a client needs, what music a client needs at a particular moment in the session, I recall a session this past weekend with a little boy. He entered the therapy room as he usually does, happy and ready to engage, smiling from ear to ear. As we started doing music activities, which included shaking bells, playing drums and singing Old McDonald; I began to sense he was just not happy with what we were doing. He was moaning and sort of whining, resisting the connection. I quickly had to think, “What does this little boy absolutely LOVE?”
I remembered that dancing is something that he has most recently had taken a liking too, so I put on the recorded CD of Bon Jovi’s Livin On A Prayer. The smile that came across his face brought tears to my eyes, he was in his glory. It is just so important for a therapist, particularly a Music Therapist to know and feel in their gut what makes their clients tick!
The rock music and dancing energized him, distracted him from whatever was bothering him and the session turned out to be one of our best. In this example, instead of just dancing and vocalizing along with the music I was also thinking,” Okay, now this kid is smiling, he is engaged, lets throw some of his goals in here while we are dancing”. Increasing vocalizations, imitating sounds, holding instruments without stimming with them.
I grabbed 4 rhythm sticks and we began to dance and tap together. I was also vocalizing. We were connecting, laughing, smiling, jumping, and turning. To sum it up, we were having a ball!!!
My intuition was right, you just have to know what your client needs in the moment. There is not a lot of time to think about it, and I never “plan” my sessions. I go with each moment and work to always accomplish making some kind of connection with the client. Experience of course has helped me get to this place. I was not always this intuitive about client’s needs, it took time, but if you know your client well enough you will be successful.

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