A Little About the Baddour Center and Music Therapy

Although many of you who read my blog posts may already be established music therapy professionals, interns, or students, a lot of you may have no idea what music therapy or the Baddour Center is. It seems that no matter where I go or who I speak with, when I say ” I’m a music therapy intern at the Baddour Center”, the response is either a blank stare followed by ” Oh….neat!”, or “What is music therapy? What is the Baddour Center?” So in this post, I will answer a few questions that I get often in hopes that you will know a little more about my internship and future profession.

1. What is music therapy?

For some reason, I am temporarily stumped when asked this question, even though it’s the question I get asked the most! The American Music Therapy Association defines music therapy as ” the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” It is a valid healthcare profession, and there’s TONS of scientific studies proving its effectiveness (exciting, right!?). When asked this question, I usually say something along the lines of “although it sounds like I teach music, I help others reach non-musical goals using a variety of musical methods.” I usually follow that with an example, such as using the Hokey Pokey to teach the difference between left and right. There is a need for music therapy in all kinds of populations, from children with communication disorders to senior citizens in a nursing home. The wonderful thing about music therapy is its adaptability.

2. What is The Baddour Center?

The Baddour Center is a residential community for adults with a diagnosis of mild to moderate intellectual disabilities. It is private (meaning NO government funding) and non-profit, serving more than 150 adults from all over the country. The residents have opportunities to work, participate in various community activities (my department), and receive services that help each individual reach his/her fullest and brightest potential. The Baddour Center is “committed to giving men and women the opportunity for lives of dignity, joy and hope. Through the dedication and support of family and friends, residents accomplish goals, enjoy lifelong friendships, and realize their greatest potential in every area of life.”

3. What will you be doing at The Baddour Center?

As the music therapy intern, I will have many opportunities to utilize the performing and creative arts to help the residents reach their goals of personal growth. I will get to choreograph dance routines, help with art projects, lead group games and activities, work with Baddour’s travelling choir The Miracles, help with the Spring play, and eventually have a full caseload of residents for individual music therapy sessions. The Baddour Center employs the Person Centered Planning approach, which means that each individual’s goals, strengths, and needs are put as Priority #1. What this means for the Music Therapy department at TBC is that we see what the residents want for themselves, then use music to help them achieve their goals. Music therapy is not forced, nor is it trying to “fix” an individual’s weakness. It is looking at what he/she is good at, then giving him/her the opportunity to grow and shine!

4. What is an intellectual disability?

“Intellectual disability” is the term formally known as “mentally retarted”. As society has changed, so must the term for the developmental disability. Persons with intellectual disabilities have a lower than average I.Q. score and difficulties with adaptive behavior skills. This can be a result of birth defects, environmental factors, mutation in certain genes, and other contributing factors. The diagnoses are mild, moderate, severe, and profound based on I.Q. and abilities to adapt behaviorally.The Baddour Center is for persons with a diagnosis of mild and moderate intellectual disabilities. Some diagnoses represented at TBC are Down syndrome, William’s syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Autism, and other developmental disabilities.

5. How long will you be at TBC? What are your plans after?

I will be at Baddour until the end of June. AMTA requires that all music therapy students undergo a six-month clinical internship upon graduation. I will graduate from William Carey in August 2013, probably take a month or so to prepare for the board exam, pass the CBMT exam (hopefully!), then become Katelyn Farris, MT-BC. Grad school is definitely in my future, but I am not sure exactly when and where. I would love to get at least a year of experience as a practicing music therapist before I decide what field of graduate music therapy I want to pursue.

Hopefully I have answered some of your questions. Please feel free to ask me anything at katelynfarris@mail.com. If you would like more information on The Baddour Center, music therapy or becoming a music therapist, feel free to ask or visit musictherapy.org or baddour.org.

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One thought on “A Little About the Baddour Center and Music Therapy

  1. I’m incredibly jealous of you =) This is what I want to do. Do you know if you can just have an english/ creative writing undergradute degree to join a program, or do you have to have a music or medical undergrad degree? You may see my blog & think oh my god, she’s such a trucker-mouthed idiot who does ridiculously stupid things. But honestly, music and laughter really are my favorite things in life- as is my compassion for people. I wish you luck! (i’ll probably comment again, since I’m interested in the field.)

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