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What's in a name?

Updated: Aug 3, 2022

Like a lot of people, I spent a lot of time thinking of the perfect name for my private practice. I spent a few weeks, writing down a list of potential names, words that describe what I hope the therapeutic process would give someone, renewal, connection, strength, hope, aspiration, clarity, balance... I wanted a word that encompassed all of that, especially because the therapy process can be so unique to each individual.

And then Elements came to my mind. There are SO many factors that influence who you are and who you want to become in a complex world full of systems that work for us and against us. Was this the word that I was going to commit to? The universe was also giving me a sign - I was noticing the word everywhere, including literal signs while on the road. And so, here I am.

1. Elements of Music

First and foremost, an important aspect of music therapy is the MUSIC! I love this graphic from Jooya Teaching Resources showing the elements of music. As a music therapist, these are some of the considerations when we are thinking about what music to use and play in a session. What kind of music will be helpful in the moment? What is the client's music trying to say?

2. Elements of Health

There are various domains (or elements!) that make up a person's health in different stages of life. These include, but not limited to:

  • Physical: What are the physical conditions that might affect your health? Are you eating and sleeping well?

  • Emotional: What is affecting your mood and emotional states?

  • Mental/Intellectual: Are you being mentally stimulated adequately? How is your mental load?

  • Social: Who are the important people in your life? Who are the people in your social network? Family? Friends? Community?

  • Spiritual: What gives you meaning and purpose? Morals? Religion?

  • Environmental: What is the state of the environment you live in? Are there any barriers?

Other factors might include, education, housing, financial security, occupation, and childhood influences.

3. Elements of Identity

An individual's identity is defined by a combination of factors. The intersections of these factors is what makes each person unique. It also recognizes the privileges or discriminations a person might experience in the world. These include social locators like, age, sex, gender, class, sexuality, race, religion, and geographic location. (This might be another post about what Kimberlé Crenshaw's intersectionality means to me).

Image from @sylviaduckworth

Of course, these are many other factors that work together that make up the person you are, internally (aspects of self), interpersonally (in relationships with others), and externally (environment and systems). Considering all the elements of a person is important in humanistic and holistic care. In my music therapy practice, I recognize and try to address the interconnectedness and integration of these elements that make you who you are.

I look forward to meeting with you, bye for now!

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