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Music Therapy Advocacy in Action

July 15, 2014 08:45 AM

GuitaristTheBridgeOn July 10, eight music therapists met with the upper-tier staff of The Bridge to brainstorm the possibilities of music therapy serving individuals who are homeless in the Dallas area. This meeting was the direct result of a strong tie between our music therapy colleague Al Bumanis at AMTA with Nathaniel Ayers - featured in the movie The Soloist - and his sister Jennifer, founder of the Nathaniel Anthony Ayers Foundation Jennifer spoke highly about music therapy to the leadership at The Bridge, and they immediately started exploring possibilities.

Music therapists Cathy Knoll, Barbara Bastable, Kathleen Coleman, Debbie Dacus, Tina Fraquhar, Kamica King, Janice Lindstrom, and Mike Zanders toured the state-of-the-art facilities and innovative services at The Bridge in downtown Dallas, then were encouraged by the agency’s decision-makers to share thoughts and ideas about ways music therapy could be incorporated into their services provided every day for many hundreds of individuals who are homeless. Jay Dunn, Pres & CEO, wrote,

“For the majority of guests who walk into our facility every day, recovery isn't possible without addressing their behavioral health needs such as mental illness and chemical dependency. Integrating behavioral healthcare with other stabilizing services has reduced vulnerabilities for the high costs of serious behavioral health problems. And expanding the scope and schedule of our services has resulted in more participation and better functionality for guests - both critical components to homeless recovery.”

Interestingly, just as the group was brainstorming about possible music therapy interventions, a young man walked right past the meeting room window, playing his guitar with great enthusiasm. The gentleman with the guitar in the accompanying snapshot came to The Bridge after a stroke took away his livelihood, savings, guitars, van, music, and hope. His case manager shared the compelling story with the group, and commented about the impact an MT-BC could have made in that situation and others.




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