by Jamie E. Gilliam, MTI
My name is Jamie Gilliam, and I am a 23-year-old native of Eastern North Carolina and a born-and-raised Pirate. I completed all music therapy coursework at East Carolina University’s accredited School of Music in May of 2016. To complete my degree, the American Music Therapy Association requires a six-month (or 900 hour) internship under the supervision of a nationally Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC). My internship began almost three weeks ago at Atlantic Music Therapy, LLC in Clayton, NC. Atlantic Music Therapy, LLC is a private practice which serves adults with neurologic illness or injury.
As I said, I graduated last spring. You might be wondering why it took so long to secure an internship. I am close with my family so I didn’t want to go out of state, and there are only five ‘National Roster’ internship sites in North Carolina. While searching the research triangle, I came into contact with Allison Hingley, a neurologic music therapist and the owner of Atlantic Music Therapy. After discussing the opportunity for an internship, she allowed me to observe her group for people with Parkinson’s disease. Through college, I thought I wanted to work with children, but seeing the impact music therapy was making on these patients’ rehabilitation and maintenance goals was inspiring.
In these first three weeks my internship, I have been reassured that this career is for me. I’ve been to the Southern Eastern Regional conference for the American Music Therapy Association, an entire weekend dedicated to expanding and sharing music therapy knowledge, networking with other therapists, and reenergizing your own therapeutic philosophy. At conference, I reconnected with classmates from ECU and made new connections with students and interns. For the first time, I was able to see the student AND professional side of operations, and was most inspired by the Music Therapy Association of North Carolina (MTANC) meeting.
MTANC is pushing for music therapy licensure in North Carolina to ensure board certified music therapists are the professionals providing quality services to healthcare consumers in the state. To help in this effort, my internship director and I went to the NC Legislative Office building in Raleigh to talk to representatives and senators about our bill (H192) and to help to gain support and awareness. This was an encouraging experience and helpful practice in explaining what our field does to help and why licensure is necessary.
Along with these opportunities for advocacy and field-strengthening events, I’ve had the opportunity to provide therapy again! Our patients at Atlantic Music Therapy are a lot different than a classroom of children with special needs, and I look forward to learning how to better serve a population with which I am less familiar.
I’ll be keeping a blog throughout my internship to share what I am learning as a future music therapist, keep track of my growth, and connect with music therapists and music therapy interns. Over the next six months, I hope to share inspiration and insight into what it actually means to be a music therapy intern and eventually, a Board Certified Music Therapist!
Allison G. Hingley, MM, MT-BC
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