I had a huge opportunity this week. I was asked to speak to members of the OB Shared Governance Committee (basically the hands on policy makers) at a local area hospital. When I prepared for my talk, I planned to just talk about music for all the stages of labor and delivery. After all, I only had 20 minutes and could easily speak on the topic for 20 hours. But I quickly realized after hearing from the postpartum nurses, surgical nurses, educators and lactation consultants in the room that they wanted more information about the applications of music therapy for the whole spectrum of the childbirth experiences.
These childbirth educators, nurse managers and lactation consultants sat and eagerly listened to what I had to share about the evidence of music therapy for pregnancy, birth and postpartum. This is also known as the “perinatal” music therapy and if you have not already guessed is one of my passions in life.
Our discussion included music therapy applications from preconception like fertility, breastfeeding difficulties, and surgical procedures not just for mother but baby as well. I left with no less than six new research ideas that could remarkably improve the physical and psychological birth experiences for families at this local hospital. Needless to say, I skipped home that morning.
A midwife friend and colleague of mine who attended the meeting along with nearly a dozen professional doulas wrote to me the next day and reminded me what this meeting was all about: improving birth for families and babies.
She writes, “We have all this awesome psychology research that clearly tells us information that could be applied to make the birth process better/easier for ALL women, not just the ones seeking a natural experience, and also to optimize the newborn’s time in a NICU.”
This midwife is right! But now we have to put music therapy for perinatal experiences into practice!
For the past few years I’ve worked intensely with my trusted colleague Heidi Lengel of Fulheart Family Support. Through our creative peer supervision process we have just begun to identify the clinical practice considerations in perinatal music therapy. Our discoveries, which are shared in the peer reviewed Music Therapy Clinician Vol 1, led us to research more ways to help other MTBCs understand how to design and implement music therapy with pregnant women and their families.
We believe that there are music therapists out there who can provide more than just customized playlists for birth.
Perhaps you’re an MTBC who desires to take music therapy assisted childbirth and other perinatal music therapy techniques to a new level of meaningful or therapeutic growth? But first, we want you to feel prepared and we believe that it is important you fully understand all the needs and experiences of families during this time in their life.
By examining many different approaches to health of the perinatal family we can explore many more ways that music can fit into treatment models. We know already that using music prenatally, music for birth and postpartum lullabies are an important part of creating strong bonds and attachments for parents and baby. However, our clinical experiences show us that there is often deeper needs on physical, social, psychological and even trans-personal levels for mother, partner and baby. So, based on our new professional awareness and an examination of gaps in the educational and clinical training we have decided to “give birth” a new type of training course for music therapists.
Our 12 week course Introduction to Perinatal Music Therapy is an in-depth introduction to what may be a new clinical practice area for many. New and experienced music therapists will attend online lectures on topics that will build skills outlined in our Scope of Practice and Code of Professional Practice: assessment, literature review, ethics, clinical skills for addressing therapeutic needs, new treatment applications and ways of implementing music therapy in a rich clinical arena (just to name a few)!
The course is approved by the Certification Board for Music Therapists for 43 CMTE credits. Your investment for the course is $500.00 and either of us, Heidi or Kate, would be happy to talk to your further about how soon you’ll likely see a return on that investment by sharing with you the successes of our clinical practices. (PSST… business planning and professional sustainability are part of the course too.) Learn more about this CMTE offering and others by signing up for updates here.
Our hope is you will walk away with a plan for moving your practice in perinatal music therapy forward immediately. You may even become the next policy changer at your local hospital and will certainly be improving birth for families in your community!
I’m more passionate than ever about teaching other music therapists and professional birth workers how perinatal music therapy meets the complex needs of birthing families.
Kate Taylor, MA, MTBC, Owner Creative Childbirth Concepts®