Day in the life of
Music Therapist, MT-BC – Kimberly O’Connell
My name is Kimberly O’Connell and I own Joyful Counseling in Indianapolis, IN. My titles are Music Therapist, MT-BC and Marriage and Family Therapist Resident.
My Typical Day
Right now I’m working 100% virtually to help families and couples find peace, mutual respect, and cultivate love with their most important people. That can mean a lot of different things in the therapy room. I use music in many of these sessions to help families and couples bond. When working with couples we think back to the songs at different points in their relationship that were meaningful, when things were easy and fun or challenging. Couples are amazed by what they remember and sharing these memories can rebuild intimacy. When working with parents to help their children I write songs that are specific to the challenges they are having to help their family rhythm. Having trouble getting kids to listen, pick up their rooms, brush their teeth–I have a song for that that is simple enough for families to recall in stressful moments.
Even more important is creating an environment for families to bond and feel joy with one another. I can do this through talk therapy, to help families recall those most significant moments. With curiosity, I wonder what songs they sang to their children when they were babies. Many times mom or dad will instinctually start singing and rocking their child in session. This creates moments when everyone’s nervous systems are regulated, and their bodies and hearts are in rhythm. If that’s not a fun job, I don’t know what is.
The pros are I get to encounter people in all different life stages, across the whole life span. I get to listen to their incredible stories of survival, triumph, love, and loss. I have the great honor and privilege to journey with them to a place that feels most in alignment with their true selves. I get to help them understand how their actions impact the people they are in a relationship with and help them realign to be the best partner, parent, human they can be. My job feels sacred and I don’t take that for granted.
The only real con is paperwork! Being a therapist means documenting what I do and how I do it. At the end of the day, it can be a challenge to get all those notes in and other care coordination with other clinicians, but the work gets done!
plan, organize, or direct medically prescribed music therapy activities designed to positively influence patients' psychological or behavioral status.