Where do you work and who are your clients?
I work for Hospice of Kankakee Valley which is a local hospice company which was founded in 1983 in Kankakee, Illinois. We serve about 150 on average hospice patients ranging in age from newborn to well into their 100s! These patients have various diagnosis, but most common are Alzheimer’s, heart disease, COPD and cancer. I also serve some bereavement and lead creative arts grief support groups.
What inspired you to become a music therapist?
I grew up in a very small town, and my high school graduating class was 43 (which was big for my school). I did not know of any music therapists so I knew I loved music, and wanted to have a career in music and Bradley University in Peoria had a music career day when I was a sophomore in high school. That is where I learned about music therapy and chose to become a music therapist.
How have you experienced music to be therapeutic yourself?
I cannot say that I have experienced music to be therapeutic as in the way we treat patients/clients, but I have found music to be very healing for me. It was something I could do on my own, or with others and I could see myself getting better at. I found it as a good hobby, and an enjoyment, it allowed me to clear my mind and focus solely on the music and not the other things in life that demanded my attention.
Who is your role model?
As a hospice music therapist, my role models are Noah Potvin and Russell Hilliard. These men are a breath of knowledge in hospice music therapy. I have only been a hospice music therapist for over a year and still have plenty to learn, and I love attending their continuing education seminars and presentations at conferences.
What are your hobbies, and what is your favorite self-care activity?
Hobbies have been difficult for me! So has self care! I started the program at Hospice of Kankakee Valley in January of 2016, and that has consumed a lot of my time. I grew up in this area, but a lot of the people I knew are gone, so I am back home rebuilding a social life! Honestly, this has been the hardest part of being a new professional, is life outside of work. I have a dog! And he is my joy, I also enjoy walking, reading, crafting and attending wine and paint nights. My favorite self care activity would have to be walking, and that includes my dog and disconnecting from my phone.