The impact of personal loss on Music Therapists' ability to work with clients.
Younis, Ashley Marie
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SubjectSelf-care, Health -- Needs assessment.; Music therapy.; Therapist and patient.; Bereavement -- Psychological aspects -- Case studies.
Loss and grief are common experiences across age, gender, race, religion, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, and occupation. However, there is a paucity of research on how loss impacts music therapists’ clinical work. The purpose of this descriptive study was to explore the influence of personal losses on music therapists’ clinical work. Ninety-five music therapists participated in an internet survey via SurveyMonkey®, and answered questions regarding (a) the impact loss has had on their work with clients, (b) self-care techniques they use to work through these losses, and (c) their viewpoints on taking a leave of absence to cope with loss. Relocation, death of a loved one (not otherwise specified), decline in health, loss of a pet, car accident, death of a parent, end of a friendship, end of a romantic relationship, loss of job, and loss of safety were the most reported losses that impacted the music therapists’ clinical work, either positively or negatively. The most commonly reported coping strategies were to talk with friends (92.4%), cry (83.5%), listen to music (81.0%), and talk with family (79.7%). All participants consistently reported that taking a leave of absence to cope with loss may be beneficial depending on the situation, and that music therapists must help themselves before they can help clients, even if that includes a leave of absence. Results are described, and limitations and implications for future research are discussed.