Melliza Malabanan, MT-BC

Melliza Malabanan photo

Where do you work and who are your clients?

I currently work at Streamwood Behavioral Healthcare Systems. I provide group music therapy sessions for the inpatient child, adolescent, and adult units.

What is your favorite part of your profession?

I enjoy creating music with my patients. I recently had a session where we did group songwriting. The patients decided they wanted to write about one of the staff members they all admired. We were able to create the song from scratch and present it to her.

What inspired you to become a music therapist?

I come from a musical family and was raised by a single dad. Being the first child, I had to set the stage for my brother, so I originally majored in nursing in college. I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to care for others. I discovered music therapy while my grandmother was in hospice care and realized that I could use my love for music and caring for others at the same time. It was a surreal realization for me. I went to my Trio counselor at my community college and told her, “THIS. This is what I want to do.” and we made it happen.

What do you do for self-care?

I’ll admit, I haven’t been doing much self-care lately because I work two jobs, working 7 days a week, but what works for me is songwriting, talking and hanging out with my friends/family, and sleeping. Oftentimes sitting in silence and binge watching TV shows helps me relax.

What’s one piece of advice you have for students or new therapists in the field?

Patience and perseverance. You’re not going to know everything but you have to be willing to try and learn. Everything good that has happened to me was because I stepped out of my comfort zone. Don’t be afraid to do that. Small scale, large scale, the scale is your own. Don’t compare yourself to others either. You belong here. You have something to bring to the table. You’ve made it this far, so take that next step you’ve been holding back on. I believe in you!