Does gratitude have a place in music therapy sessions?An earlier post explored accessing gratitude in our lives. Hours spent working are a big part of lives. As music therapist, we should consider the role gratitude has in and around a music therapy sessions.

In my opinion, it does. Chances are you are already demonstrating it.

Here are some ways we use gratitude in a session.

None of this is outside our normal approaches. Rather it is being mindful that we are showing gratitude.

  • Giving our clients our full attention. Especially in the activity filled space of a senior living community, having someone look and listen as you speak means a lot.
  • Saying “please” and “thank you”.  Social graces are important.
  • Remembering what song(s) is meaningful for them. Remembering what music they can’t stand.
  • Using their names. Nothing means more than hearing our name.

Here are some ways we can use gratitude with co-workers/facility employees.

Caregiving takes a physically and emotionally toll. Showing gratitude to staff (or family members) can impact our sessions.

  • Acknowledging them for the job they do. Floor staff seem to be told what to do by everyone – the supervisors, the residents, the families. Letting them know how they positively impacted someone is a big boost.
  • Letting supervisors know who is doing a good job. It seems the “bad” news gets shared more than the “good”. Being part of a positive tone is helpful to all.
  • Occasionally including them in the session. Singing, playing instruments, dancing are rarely part of their work. A minute spent sharing this with those they serve can help develop positive relationships.
  • Supporting clients in serenading the staff. Whether it is Nurses Week or a holiday, a few minutes supporting a show of musical gratitude impacts lives.

Adding gratitude outside the music therapy session can also reap rewards.

This need not be a constant. Think of it as the “little extra” you can offer. None of it requires tons of money or time.

  • From time to time, sharing a note or leaving a card with clients or the staff is welcomed.
  • Leave kazoos with the residents and a list of songs for the staff to use. (Yes, I’ve had staff thank me and ask for more kazoos.)
  • Send an email with a link to news articles or music resources they might find helpful.

What place do you see gratitude having in a music therapy session?