At Gsus Music Therapy Services & Center, LLC, we get asked a lot about why we charge for our services. Oddly we don’t usually get asked, “What am I paying for?”, but “Why do you charge for your time?”. This is a great question. So let’s talk logistics and dollars and cents, shall we?
Let’s start with what is music therapy? Music therapy is the clinical-, evidence-, and goal-based alternative medical and therapy practice (a CAM titled profession) where music and musical elements are used to address the non-musical needs of an individual or group. The session interventions are customized to the individual and programmed to address identified goals using preferred music repertoire. At Gsus, we work within the mind-body-spirit connection and from the humanistic approach to therapeutic care and practice.
When you seek out, refer to, or contract music therapy services from Gsus Music Therapy Services & Center, LLC, what you are getting is:
- a board certified music therapist
What is a board certified music therapist you ask? A board certified music therapist is someone who has earned the credential MT-BC. This credential requires a bachelor degree + 6 month internship where the individual works as a music therapist + sitting for and passing a board certification exam. You also get someone who has years of experience working with individuals and groups across a wide range of needs, diagnoses, presenting conditions, and levels of functioning as a music therapist.
- continuing education and training
If there is a new approach to therapy or a more extensive approach to therapy, there is a really great possibility that your friendly music therapist has engaged in that kind of study, research, and training. At Gsus Music Therapy Services & Center, LLC, we know we have certainly done just this thing.
- annual association fees for maintaining the board certified credential and membership fees
If your music therapist is connected to an association (AMTA – American Music Therapy Association, CTMTA – Central Texas Music Therapy Association, SWAMTA – Southwestern Region of the American Music Therapy Association, WFMT – World Federation of Music Therapy, MARMAT – Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Music Therapy Association, etc.) – whether it be at the state, regional, national, and/or international level, when you contract that music therapist – not only do you have access to their personal expertise, you are also gaining access to a music therapist that is connected to their own network of colleagues and checks and balances that hold them accountable. In addition, your music therapist also has access to research and anecdotal publications and support services they would not have otherwise.
- time invested and spent on your (or your groups) case
Music therapy is a clinical-, evidence-, and goal-based therapy. This includes research done specifically with you (or your group) in mind to make sure the interventions being provided are consistently the best intervention techniques to address whatever need you may have, making sure that the music that is provided is preferred (because no one likes to listen to music they can’t relate to or to not be able to participate), instruments for your ease of use (or adaptive instruments that are altered to be usable even in the midst of disability or impairment), traveling to and from the session (because sometimes what works best for you is to be in your own home or you are in a facility where you cannot leave), documenting the session (even music therapists take therapist notes and chart your progress and make adjustments to your treatment based on the data collected – if we didn’t, it would just be music time and not music therapy), and cleaning equipment used in the session (for your health and ours, we used sterilized instruments and manipulatives and keeping them that way takes time and materials).
- Purchasing and maintaining equipment and instruments
Everyone has a bad day from time to time and sometimes that bad day shows up on our instruments and equipment. Since those instruments are the tools of our trade, we have to have them repaired (and when we are able, we do the repairs ourselves). Also we use our instruments and equipment to help thousands of people every year; and sometimes things need to be touched up and maintenanced so we can keep on helping others. Sometimes special adaptations are necessary to make sure that even someone whose abilities are impaired or diminished in any capacity still have the opportunity to participate with their session where they are in the moment and not where they are “expected” to be.
- liability insurance
Making sure that you are protected and that we are protected, your music therapist carries liability insurance coverage for “just in case”. Although we can honestly say we have never had cause to use the added measure of security, we feel it would behoove us to make sure we have it.
- Administrative time
Emailing, responding to phone messages, making schedules for sessions, and making accommodations for schedule changes requires time. Although most music therapists try and accomplish all of this on one day; more often than not, it is something they have to do every day.
- Office supplies and field-related software and technology
To make sure that everything that will help you (or your group) go from where you are to where you would like or need to be sometimes requires custom manipulatives or assistive technology. Although music therapists can do some searching and networking to make sure that these things are at your disposal; unless they are receiving grants or charitable donations, those all come from out of pocket expense and session preparation time.
- music therapists salary
Although a percentage of what you pay goes to provide the paycheck your music therapist takes home; as you can see, most of what you pay goes to other areas to make sure your therapy is everything you need it to be.
When you go to your doctor, dentist, massage therapist, psychotherapist, speech language pathologist, physical therapist, occupational therapist, or any other medical or mental health professional, (same as a music therapist), you pay for their time and expertise, access to resources, and ability to provide quality care. At Gsus Music Therapy Services & Center, LLC, we work hard to make sure that your music therapy sessions look and feel like an engaging and rewarding experience and not just therapy.
Is this all that you get for your hard-earned dollars? Absolutely not. There is so much more that we provide; but these are the cornerstones and foundations of our clinical services. Do we expect payment for our services? Absolutely. As you’ve read, music therapy requires a lot to make sure you (or your group) are able to walk away from your therapy session feeling successful and accomplished, relaxed and prepared, and capable and in charge.
There is an old adage that says, “You get what you pay for”. Why do we charge for our time? Because we wouldn’t be able to offer you the best of our skills, knowledge, expertise, and resources if we didn’t expect payment for our services. We are committed to BE the CHANGE we WANT to SEE in the WORLD and in our COMMUNITIES. We are doing this ONE song at a TIME, ONE life at a TIME, and one SESSION at a TIME.
Many suggestions maintaining that it would be better if we would volunteer our services/expertise and donate our time have come in. You’ll be happy to know that we do a fair amount of community service and give freely of our time – willingly and joyfully. Alas, like most of you, we also all have bills to pay and families to support, which are situations that necessitate we also bring in an income for what we do.
Do you want to make a referral for services? Would you like more information about music therapy? Are you interested in music therapy for yourself or a loved one? Do you think one of our performance ensembles is just the medicine the doctor ordered? Do you want to find out what your heart says? Would you like to learn how to take control of your health and thinking? Give us a call at 512.754.9631, message us here or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/gsusmusictherapy, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out the ‘Contact Us‘ form right here on our site.
We wish you the grooviest of days and at least one moment that takes your breath away and makes your heart smile!
The Gsus Music Therapy Treatment Team