Where do you work and who are your clients?
I have recently started a new position at Heartland Hospice as the Bereavement Coordinator. I mainly work with the bereaved families of our patients, as well as provide community grief support groups. My day to day doesn’t involve much Music Therapy, yet. I’m hoping to incorporate music into support groups and 1:1 counseling sessions. Another rewarding aspect of my job is serving as chair of the We Honor Veterans Program. This program was developed by the Veterans Administration and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization to ensure quality care for veterans at end of life. This program is near and dear to me as I am an Operation Enduring Freedom Air Force Veteran and still serving part-time in the Illinois National Guard.
What inspired you to become a music therapist?
I recall in my senior year of high school debating whether I would go to school for music or for psychology. Little did I know at the time that Music Therapy was a career option! After getting my bachelors in music business from Elmhurst College, I struggled to find my path in life. Luckily, through membership in Sigma Alpha Iota and the support of my Aunt who is a nurse, I discovered Music Therapy. I always felt a calling to help people, and Music Therapy was the perfect fit to combine my love of music and passion to work with people.
How have you experienced music to be therapeutic yourself?
I’ve always turned to music for emotional validation, especially when I’m sad or going through a rough patch in life. I find it so freeing to sing lyrics that speak to what emotions I’m feeling or to the situation I find myself in.
Who is your role model?
I really don’t have a role model, but I’m inspired by so many people in my life. I try to surround myself with positive, hardworking people who have a passion for life.
What are your hobbies?
I enjoy baking, especially cookies and cakes. I participate in 5K races, usually doing about 4 a year. Shopping…does that count as a hobby? My mother, grandmother, and I love to go shopping and find good deals. We traditionally all go out shopping together on Black Friday. And, of course, music! I do maintain playing and performing on my primary instrument, French horn.
What is your favorite self-care activity?
I think my favorite self-care activity is really a technique- learning to say “No.” This is inspired by my career in hospice and the patients I’ve worked with. I’ve learned from them that life is short. I believe in work-life balance, and I try to make a conscious effort to be good to myself and to spend time with friends and family.