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Gsus Music Therapy Services & Center, LLC

Where our focus is the overall well-being of the mind, the body, and the spirit through music

Why Hire a Music Therapist?

Each day a board certified music therapist packs their instruments, technologies, and other session materials (if you have ever seen one of us…that can be a lot of schlepping), walks out of their front door and loads up their vehicle, or opens their facility or studio doors, they are prepared – not just to provide treatment and care for clients and patients and not just to provide music either.  They are prepared to re-present an entire field of board certified music therapy professionals, to advocate for music therapy services, and also to educate every person they encounter who asks: Why do I need to hire a music therapist? 

Music_Therapy_-_Texas3We understand the question.  It is a valid question. This is also a question that most board certified music therapists will tell you they hear every day because most people do not encounter a board certified music therapist every day. More often than not, board certified music therapists are prepared with a range of responses they have for a wide range of environments, opportunities, and audiences. Answering this question is part of what we do. If you ask a board certified music therapist, they will probably tell you they have an explanation for the grocery store, an elevator ride, in a parking lot, walking through a lobby or into any building with instruments or in meetings with other therapy and medical professionals – to answer just that question.

We get it…because we know meeting a board certified music therapist is a bit like seeing a unicorn. We can be hard to find, and even more challenging to find if you are not sure where to look for one of us. The challenge becomes compounded if you do not know what is music therapy. Because of this main factor, for many people, this means traveling to receive treatment by a board certified music therapist. But don’t take our word for it.  Let’s talk about the bottom lines, the data and the facts about what is music therapy and what we do.

First: What is music therapy?  Music therapy is the HIPAA-compliant, CAM-titled (complimentary alternative medicine) and alternative therapy practice that is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to address and accomplish identified goals by a qualified and credentialed practitioner within a therapeutic relationship. We are classified the same as occupational therapy (OT), physical therapy (PT), and speech language pathology (SLP). This can happen in a private practice, hospitals, schools, community centers, prisons, rehab facilities, mental health facilities, private homes, nursing homes, group homes, homeless shelters, and much more.

Second: What is a board certified music therapist?  A board certified music therapist (MT-BC) is a trained and credentialed clinical practitioner who has completed an accredited music therapy program of study and field placements, research, clinical training, an internship, and passed a board certification examination.  A board certified music therapist has to have a Bachelor, Master, or PhD in music therapy, have completed 1200 hours of a supervised clinical internship post-studies, and passed the Board Certification examination in Music Therapy.  They are also required to complete 100 hours of continuing education and clinical training every 5 years to recertify and retain their credential. And depending on the music therapist, as with other therapy professionals, music therapists have areas of specialization. Without the credential and data collection, what is taking place is not music therapy.

 

Myths_vs._TruthsWithin the United States, there are approximately 7,000 board certified music therapists and the numbers of practitioners range from state to state.  There are still some states that do not have board certified music therapists in them at all.  In the state of Texas, there are just over 415 board certified music therapists working in the field and we make up a little over 8% of the board certified music therapists in the United States.  In the state of Texas alone, we 415 treat roughly 41,350 clients and patients each year.  This means on average, each practitioner treats approximately 100 clients and/or patients per year; and this does not take into account contracted services for group sessions or clients and patients that travel from out of state – and in some cases out of country – to receive treatment with specializing practitioners. These numbers vary greatly – depending on the circumstances of the state and the needs to be addressed.

In some states, the MT-BC credential and the clinical and educational training that goes into becoming a board certified music therapist is recognized and protected (and we are working hard to get HB 1376 passed in Texas so we can this great state on the list) from those who call themselves “music therapist” but have no clinical training.  Many more people and organizations could benefit from music therapy services from a qualified and certified practitioner but are not able to access one due to a lack of state recognition of our clinical training and board certification. Also, with state recognition and licensure, insurance providers and carriers will be less able to deny coverage for a prescribed and viable therapy service.

What are some common questions asked?

Why can’t a volunteer provide these same services for free? The short answers is: Because a volunteer does not have the educational and clinical training and background necessary to practice therapy. A more involved answer is: There is a difference between the therapeutic use and application of music and the skilled profession of music therapy. Just like you wouldn’t hire a P.E. teacher to provide physical therapy and rehabilitation services, you really do not want an untrained individual – no matter how musically inclined – trying to function as a music therapist.  This is not to say that we do not love our music volunteers.  Having music volunteers is very helpful for the field of music therapy. We have a shortage of qualified practitioners and an overabundance of need across our great country; but even a music volunteer for music therapy has to go through a measure of training before volunteering can be done. Music Therapy - What Do You Pay For

Wait…why do you charge for that? We charge for our services because what we do is a professional therapy service.  Just like you expect to pay for services when they are provided by a physical therapist (PT) or a clinical psychologist, you should expect to pay a board certified music therapist when contracting or hiring to receive specialized therapy services. A board certified music therapist follows a process – referral & acceptance, assessment, program planning, implementation, documentation, progress notes, and when the time comes termination – to bring the most effective interventions to address identified and emerging needs. Preparation goes into customizing each intervention for each individual, family, group, or organization…in addition to the learning of preferred music and pairing interventions with instruments or adapting the instruments. Everything a board certified music therapist does is goal-based and established on clinical and medical research, tailored to address specific needs and identified goals, and all of the music that is used is individual- and/or group-preferred.

Just a few examples:Music_Therapy55

  • In the educational setting, Music Therapy is a related service under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Acts (IDEA);
  • In mental health, clinical, and healthcare settings, Music Therapy is a HIPAA-compliant, prescribed clinical treatment option and the board certified music therapist works with others on a treatment team to bring the most effect interventions for health (of mind, body, and spirit) and healing;
  • In correctional and forensic settings, Music Therapy is a clinical treatment option for those who may find themselves isolated or resistant to talk-based therapies; and
  • In business settings, Music Therapy is used to improve employee satisfaction, wellness, and inter-office communication while decreasing rates of employee burnout.

Isn’t it just music? The short answer is: No, it is not just music. The more involved answer is: Therapeutically, neurologically, physiologically, psychotherapeutically, and psychologically, different kinds of music stimulate and elicit different responses within the human body. Using the wrong music can cause more harm and damage than benefit. From the research, 93% of human communication is non-verbal. Music therapy allows a client, patient, and/or group – no matter their environment – to experience and express their full range of emotions about an issue without having to only talk about them.

What does this all mean? Music therapy services help in reducing care costs across a wide range of settings and has the ability to significantly add to the value of services offered through just about any facility or program. Music therapy services help change the atmosphere of any environment. A music therapy program and individual services can add to your program. But don’t take our word for it. Here is an overview of cost-saving analysis and statistics and data on music therapy.

Advocacy (2)If you are an employer, manager, or supervisor looking for a new program to improve employee contentment, efficacy, and service output; or you own, manage, or run a program that offers services with individuals with intellectual, developmental, physical, mental or medical disabilities; or you are a caregiver or faith-based institution working to deal with self-care and mitigate the short- and long-term effects of providing services and care for others, or you are a group, organization, or individual looking for a new way to address a recurring, new, or existing issue, music therapy may be just what the doctor ordered. You more than likely ask yourself, “What sets aside my company/brand/institution from the rest? What makes a family choose “us” over “them”? What helps us stand out?”. Hiring a board certified music therapist would allow you to address your needs, as well as gives you an edge in services you offer.

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, a group, or a loved one? Are you looking for a new approach for a new or recurring situation? Are you a business looking for a new way to address a concern? We are here to help. Give us a call at 512.754.9631, message us here,  or at www.gsusmusictherapy.com, or send us an email at gsus.musictherapy@gmail.com.

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

Music Therapy, Healing, Wellness, and Overcoming

If you are breathing, you have more than likely been hurt somewhere in your life by someone or something in some way, shape, form, or fashion. You may have even been the one to hurt you. It may seem like a small consolation to have this acknowledged; but be encouraged, Beloved, you are not alone. We have all been there at some time or another. Everyone has been dropped by life in some way. If we keep living, chances are we will all experience being dropped again at some time or another. We will all lose a loved one too soon. We will all have someone (or many someones) in our life who challenge us. We will all experience a friendship or relationship that falls apart and leaves us trying to cope in a way we never had to before. We will all lose something, whether material or not, that we will invest of ourselves trying to recapture. We will all be disappointed. We will all find ourselves with pivotal moments where we realize something has to give.

Medicine (2).jpgWe will have all have trials and troubles that will bring us people, problems, pain, and pressures. Take heart, you are not alone. There is one universal truth we all have to face if we are to keep living. And it is our sincere hope and prayer that you will always choose life. The universal truth is that life is something we have to feel, something we all need to live. There is no escaping it. Life will keep coming – whether we want it to or not, whether we feel prepared for it or not, whether we feel strong enough for what it will require of us or not. Take a moment to check-in with yourself. Be honest with you.

Do you experience negative emotions or thoughts when you need to interact with certain people or situations? Do you neglect yourself and put off taking care of your own needs? Have you become your own worst critic? Do you feel anxious and stressed all of the time? Do you feel like whatever you do just is not good enough? Do you exist in a place of guilt and self-doubt – even for things you cannot control? Do you sometimes feel alone – even when you find yourself surrounded by people? Do you keep yourself achieving small because you don’t want the attention to fall on you? Do you go out of your way to protect yourself from others? Do you work all of the time to keep yourself preoccupied? Do you find yourself having the same cycling thoughts over and over? Do you find yourself saying “yes” to things you would rather say “no” to or vice versa? Has life left you feeling like the proverbial doormat? Have you experienced a trauma that has left you reeling ever since and you’re not sure how to move forward? Do you find yourself at a crossroads and ready for change? Do you keep thinking there is better, but you’re not sure how to get to the better?

OvercomingIf you are an adult who did not receive, for whatever reason, what you needed from your mother, your father, your family, your environment, your upbringing, your interpersonal and/or professional relationships, your faith, your job, or anything else you needed to grow up and into a confident, secure, self-assured individual, who believes in his/her worthiness as a human being, this is for you. This is not about bashing any of the people, places, or things mentioned because the goal is healing, wellness, and overcoming – even if the people, problems, pains, and pressures keep coming or do not change. We are interested in helping you find the bottom line, so you can let go to go on and have a more fulfilled life. We want to help you overcome, to succeed as you define success for your life.

You may feel broken, abandoned, betrayed, unworthy, unneeded, unloved, undervalued, or a whole slew of other negative and draining emotions. You may be self-medicating with alcohol, drugs, overworking, sex, religion, shopping, overworking out, escaping into AI (artificial intelligence) platforms (ie. excessive Facebook-ing, Pinterest-ing, Instagram-ing, etc.), surrounding yourself with those who can share in your feelings of bitterness but not in your idea of better, just to name a few things. But no matter what you do, you still feel empty, lost, overwhelmed, or drifting aimlessly, there is something you need to know. There is more in this life for you. You can still heal, you can still find wellness, wholeness, and balance. The choice is yours.

Encouragement8 - CopyEverything that has happened to you, every negative thing that was said to you, every label that has been heaped on you – mind, body, and spirit – every thing that life did not give you, every thing you thought would happen, but didn’t, you need to know you are important, you are worthy, you are loved, and you are needed. There is more in this life for you. The bottom line is this: you are still here, Beloved. No matter what this life has thrown at you, you are still here. No matter what this life did or did not give you so far, you are still here. As long as there is life in your body, as long as you have a heartbeat, as long as you are breathing – and definitely if you can read this – you are yet and still here and there is more in this life for you. 

At Gsus Music Therapy Services & Center, we focus on the overall well-being of the mind, the body, and the spirit through music. Every music making experience we offer is customized to address your needs through the listening, moving, playing, and singing of and to music. We work within the neural pathways of the brain to bring about change for and within an individual; and we do it through music and musical elements. Why music therapy? Because we are rhythm.What kind of music do we use? We use the kind of music you prefer.  Music therapy is both a CAM-titled (complimentary alternative medicine) and alternative therapy field of practice. At Gsus, we specialize in biofeedback to guide the music therapy process – which is just a fancy way of saying we use your body’s functioning (like your heartbeat, your brainwave functioning, your pulse, even your rate of breathing) to bring about change for and within an individual. Everything we do is goal-based. If it is your goal, then it is our goal. Sure, it will look and feel like playing an instrument and singing a song or beating a drum; but a great many things are taking place.

Medicine (3)A mental health need is not a figment of the imagination and it cannot always be “walked off”. Any mental health need is very real. You need to know, there is more in this life for you – no matter your circumstance or situation. We are here to help you learn new coping strategies to deal with the people, problems, pains, and pressures of life. A life filled with conflicted thinking, strange thoughts, pervasive thoughts, or redundant thoughts does not have to be all there is for you. We are not here to judge. We are here to help. You are worthy of a fulfilled life. You are worthy of your healing. You are valued. You are needed. You are priceless.

Music therapy: A different approach to life, to therapy, and to medical care.

Do you want to make a referral for services? Do you need more information? Are you interested in music therapy for yourself or a loved one? Are you looking for a new approach for a new or recurring situation? We are here to help. Give us a call at 512.754.9631, message us here or at www.gsusmusictherapy.com, or send us an email at gsus.musictherapy@gmail.com.

10 Healthful Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation & Biofeedback Music Therapy

Music therapy is a different approach to personalizing and customizing your medical care and your therapy.  It is all about the science.  At Gsus Music Therapy Services & Center, LLC, we utilize biofeedback as a baseline indicator to establish where an individual is and to help us determine how best to chart out where an individual would like to go in their therapy journey – which is just a fancy way of saying we use the data your body provides (like your heartbeat, your brainwave functioning, your pulse, even your rate of breathing) to customize your treatment to goals you identify.  We do it all through music and musical elements and training based in music therapy clinical foundations, biofeedback (a medical and clinical assessment process), and HeartMath science.  Through this approach, we are able to address the whole self; and as a result, healthful benefits begin happening within the mind, the body, and the spirit.

We do this because we are rhythm.  Our hearts beat to a certain rhythm – our biological rhythm.  We breathe to a certain rhythm – also our biological rhythm.  Even our sleeping and waking cycles happen to a rhythm – our chronobiological or circadian rhythm.  The human body is an incredible collaboration of multiple complex systems that layer together into a driving rhythmic force working together in the groove of life.  We breathe, talk, eat, chew, sleep, wake, and move to a rhythm.  We are breathing, talking, chewing, sleeping, waking, moving and grooving polyrhythmic beings.  And all rhythm needs a groove to fit in to.

In music therapy, we call the process of fitting your biology into a groove entrainment.  Entrainment, in the biomusicological sense, refers to the synchronization of organisms – or in this case complex body systems – to an external perceived rhythm.  Essentially, we use music you prefer and we customize it to your body’s biological functions to intentionally entrain your body’s functions, from your brain to your cells, to musical stimuli and then recalibrate what is happening within your body.  Sometimes this requires we speed things up; and other times, it requires that we slow things down.  As we do this, we teach you the tools and exercises necessary for you to be able to take control of specific portions of your body’s health, as well as how to maintain it as part of a regular personal self-care routine.  Through consistent application of the tools and exercises we will provide, as a result, a type of domino-effect begins to take place within the body day by day, leading to healthfulness.

Let’s face it, if you are going through this thing called Life, there are situations and circumstances that we all experience that throw off our rhythm and groove.  Daily stressors come.  Emergencies arise.  Issues pop up.  And over time, these all add up and begin to have an impact on our overall health; and not just the health of our bodies, but of our minds and spirits too.  We are all a mind, a body, and a spirit and what we feed each of those parts of ourselves matters. Think of it as a whole-self diet.  Through mindfulness meditation practice and biofeedback music therapy and assessment, we address all 3 sides of the self through individual and group sessions. Session work spans across 12-18 weeks – depending on the individual or group.  In this period, we assess and then intentionally recalibrate and reset your natural groove, while we teach you the tools necessary to maintain a path towards wellness and better health.

By including biofeedback data into our music therapy assessments and interventions, along with HeartMath applications, we are able to better help an individual become more aware of their independent body systems, provide education about these things that are person-specific, and teach the process of controlling these systems voluntarily. Within the body, our systems all directly impact one another. Through biofeedback, an individual is able to gain a greater sense of awareness and understanding of what is happening within their own body.  By learning to intentionally control and regulate these systems, greater wellness and health can be achieved.

music_therapy_and_health

Research shows us that overall cardiovascular health is impacted through these applications. There is an 1)increase of blood flow and oxygenation, 2)energy enzyme production is increased, and 3)health conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and cholesterol are impacted.  Through consistent and intentional periods of self-regulation, research shows us that 4)individuals can also increase their blood stroke volume, which in turn serves as a catalyst that 5)increases healthy cholesterol while decreasing unhealthy triglycerides, which in turn 6)increases overall immune health.

But we did mention “from your brain to your cells”.  With consistent and intentional periods of voluntary system regulation, our cells become impacted through the increase of neurotransmitter production – which is just a fancy way of saying the tools we provide will increase your brain’s production of endorphins and other chemicals that regulate and balance things like emotions, mood, memory, cognition, attention span, concentration, alertness, energy, appetite, cravings, sleep, our perception of pain, relaxation response, motor control, and our 8)ability to learn, memorize, and recall information, as well as 9)increases neuroplasticity.  This takes places because our cells have to talk to each other to transfer this intentionally stimulated and released chemical information.  Neurotransmitters affect every cell, tissue, and system within us.  This kind of regulation also allows for the 10)regulation of brainwaves – alpha, beta, theta, delta, and gamma.

Everything we do – all of our movements, thoughts, and feelings – are the result of our cells talking with one another.  Because neurotransmitters are integrated with our immune and endocrine systems (including the adrenal glands), neurotransmitter imbalances can cause a wide range of health problems such as:

  • Brain fog – loss of mental focus, ADD, ADHD, impaired memory, poor decision making;
  • Fatigue;
  • Insomnia – difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or both;
  • Pain – migraines, fibromyalgia
  • Obesity – metabolic syndrome, insulin resistance, and diabetes;
  • Mood disorders – depression, mood swings, irritability
  • Anxiety – panic, obsessions, PTSD
  • Behavioral disturbances – addictions, binge eating, compulsions impulsivity, gambling, autism; and
  • Hormonal imbalances – PMS, estrogen dominance, low testosterone, hypothyroidism.

music-therapy43At Gsus Music Therapy Services & Center, LLC, our philosophy is to treat people with unconditional positive regard, and to meet them where they are to help them move to where they would like to be.  We have many who come to us for music therapy treatment dealing with a wide range of needs and concerns.  We do not believe an individual should be defined by their symptoms, diseases, or conditions.  We believe that when an individual is dealing with an issue, all of who they are – mind, body, and spirit – is involved in the process.  The tools we provide through mindfulness meditation, based on your personal biofeedback and clinical music therapy foundations, wellness can be achieved.

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, a loved one, or group? 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 gsus.musictherapy@gmail.com or fill out the ‘Contact Us‘ form right here on our site.

We wish you the grooviest of days and at least moment that takes your breath away and makes your heart smile!

The Gsus Music Therapy Treatment Team

There Is No “I” in Ensemble

Imagine standing on a stage, getting ready to give the first public performance of your life.  You have worked hard for weeks, even months, on the music.  There is excitement and anticipation in the air, but there is also a bit of nervousness and perhaps even fear.  The director reassures you that you will do great.  The lights go dim and only the lights on the stage remain.  You watch the director take their position in front of your group.  Moments later, the director raises their hands and the room goes silent.  The director’s arms begin to move and the music begins.  The air is filled with wonderful sounds and joyful noises, the audience takes it all in, and the whole room is seemingly transcended to a magical place.

This is the experience we make sure all of our participants receive.  This is the experience that can be life changing.  No matter what instrument they are playing – whether it be a drum, guitar, hand chime, triangle, or kazoo – each part is important.  No matter how much or in what way they are participating – they are participating.  No matter what level of ability or experience they bring to the ensemble, we work hard to ensure everyone who desires to participate will experience the joy, pride, and fulfillment of making music with others.  They will work hard to make the magic happen, and hard work is its’ own best reward.

Through Gsus Harmonies, as music therapists, musicians, and music educators, we uphold the highest of professional, ethical, and personal standards – not only those dictated by our profession, but our personal standards of accountability and excellence.  Upholding these standards allows for our clients and patients to have the most effective and therapeutically beneficial experience we can provide.  The same as with any other therapy or health care practitioner, music therapists are charged to have the utmost concern for clients and patients and to do no harm.  At Gsus, our goal is to help our clients actualize their potential and realize their best self.

Our organization and ensembles are open to those within the geriatric community, the intellectually disabled community, the developmentally disabled community, the physically disabled community, and the medical and rehabilitating community. In addition, our organization and ensembles are also open to those who just want to have some fun making music and have the opportunity to be the change they want to see within their community.

To ensure we are providing the best services and experience we can, anyone interested in joining our ensembles – no matter what age or level of ability or disability – must undergo a music therapy assessment and be evaluated for their current level of overall functioning, social and behavioral skills necessary for group participation, and musicality (among other things).  Note: while no musical skill or previous musical experience is necessary for participation, the data provided through the assessment process helps us ensure an individual will be able to participate in a way that is most effective and rewarding.  This assessment provides an overall view of how well the participant will function within the ensemble, and will help to plan accordingly based on strengths and needs.  No exceptions to this will be made for any reason; the ethics of our profession dictates that all individuals are to be assessed before beginning any work.  This assessment is also vitally important for the safety and success of all participants and the ensemble.

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? 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 gsus.musictherapy@gmail.com 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

An Open Letter To Our Clients – Past, Present, and Future

From our hearts to yours,

At Gsus we are humbled and privileged beyond measure to be music therapists. We truly LOVE what we do – even when what we are asked to do is tough. We do not, and cannot, take for granted the incredible honor you give us by allowing us to come into your life, into your homes, into your facilities, onto your treatment team, and into your homes and hospital rooms to share so many wonderful and truly inspiring moments with you. When you choose Gsus, you are not just choosing another therapy professional to be on your treatment team, you are choosing someone who is going to care about you and the things that are important to you. Yes, you do pay us for a service; but what you get is so much more. You become a part of us and a part of the Gsus family from the time we serve you and long after you no longer need our services.

The paycheck we receive pays our bills; but what you receive from us is genuine and real all of the time. We are honored to spend our time with you and to care for you and to be with you in your time of need. We are fully invested in your needs and making sure that what we do for you helps you to accomplish your goals. We will gladly work with other members of your treatment team. Our only agenda is to help you to the best of our abilities. We care – and not because we are paid to care.

You do not have to worry or be concerned about expressing yourself or having moments of humanness with us. We are not just your sounding board or your listening ears, we are in your corner and we will advocate for your needs. If you are upset, we will listen. If you are hurting, we will share that experience with you. If you cry, we will never tell you it is not okay. In some cases, we may even cry too. However you choose to express yourself, we will help you do it. And if you want it, we will help you create a soundtrack for your life.

Music Therapy38

You do not need to have any musical skills to have us be part of your treatment team. We promise we will give you the opportunity each and every time we see you to be musical, to feel musical, and to feel successful in your musical expression any way you choose to engage in your music therapy. We love when you sing with us – even if it is off-key; because we can’t all be professional singers. We also firmly believe that music and musical expression is good and sweet medicine for not just your mind, but your body, and your spirit too. The medicinal value of the music does not diminish because it is not the “perfection” we all have heard on the radio. If you do not feel like singing, we are okay with that too. Sometimes receiving the gift of song is just a medicinal as producing a song. Listening to music and pondering your own thoughts, feelings, memories and ideas is just as important as playing and expressing your feelings. We will never be offended if you fall asleep during your session time. We think of sleeping during a session as a compliment that we are able to help you relax well enough and get more of what your mind, body, and spirit need in the moment; and we are always honored that you feel comfortable enough with us to fall asleep.

On the days you are feeling your worst, we hope you will be willing to allow us to come and help you feel better. Sometimes we are all up and sometimes we all get down. There is no judgment that will ever come from us about how you choose to engage with your therapy. If you want to beat a drum and holler, we will be there with you in the moment. If you want to hold a shaker and cry, we will be there in the moment with you. Feel free to cry. We want you to know you will not have to be in that moment alone. If you want to dance and shout and sing, we will be there in the moment with you. If you want quiet reflection, we will be there in the moment with you and do our best to support you in any way possible. We will always respect your right to ask us to not come and see you; but we feel you should know, we are qualified and well-trained to help you manage your thoughts and feelings in the moment and to help you manage the symptoms and emotions that may be present on those days.

We know – not just for ourselves – but from experience, that music sometimes brings strong emotions to the surface and sometimes it can be sudden and overwhelming. We want you to know that we will be with you in those moments and we will help you – even if the help we are able to provide is just to listen and comfort you. We will gladly welcome your family members and caregivers to share in those moments if that is your wish. We will help you write songs to convey your message or to have a conversation.

And if you are dying, we will do our best to help you do so as gracefully and peacefully as possible. We will come and see you in your final moments. We know that dying happens in stages and at all ages; and even though there may come a stage of the process where your are not able to respond or to engage, we know you will still be able to hear us – even if you cannot respond. We will share the history of our journey together and we will be there even after you have gone. We will work to help give comfort to your family during the grieving process and help them all say “until we meet again” to you. If your family asks us to provide music for your memorial services, we will be there and we will share the legacy you have left behind with them all. We will still think of you after you have gone.

At Gsus, once you have become part of our music therapy family, we will never forget you. We will always remember the honor and privilege it was to be with you. All of our clients and patients are part of our extended family and will always be a part of our hearts. We are fully committed to aid you in your life’s journey – however that looks.

Thank you for being a part of the Gsus Music Therapy family.

The Gsus Music Therapy Treatment Team

Wait… Why Do You Charge for That?

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.

Yes278 - Copy 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 gsus.musictherapy@gmail.com 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

Bit of Butter…Pear Butter That Is

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At Gsus Music Therapy Services & Center, LLC, we provide music therapy sessions for a wide range of clients with a wide range of needs.  While our services are always programmed to each individual and their specific needs, some of the clients we see are individuals who have special medical- or health-related concerns that require the services we offer to be even more specialized to meet their needs.  This may include the use of specific or adapted instruments and intervention methods.  We are currently fundraising with a “Bit of Butter…Pear Butter That Is” campaign. We have created 7 different flavors of organic (but not certified organic) Pear Butter and have lovingly jarred them for your tasting delight.

What exactly is pear butter, you ask?  It’s a saucy/buttery spread made with organic pears and various added spices or flavors.  It has many uses, including as a spread on bread, toast, or biscuits, as an additive to yogurt or soft cheeses, as a topping for oatmeal or ice cream, as a delicious substitute for healthy recipe creations, as a unique rub for poultry and other meats, and much more.  The uses of pear butter are endless.

To titillate your pallet, we have Traditional Pear Butter, Cinnamon Pear Butter, Spiced Pear Butter, Autumn Spiced Pear Butter, Caramel Saffron Pear Butter, Honey Vanilla Pear Butter, and Toasted Coconut Lime Pear Butter.  These savory concoctions are guaranteed to be a delectable addition to any meal, snack, or culinary creation.  For the foodie in you or just because you would like to lend a helping hand.  Our jars of “butter” come in 4 oz. (1/4 pint), 8 oz. (half pint), and 16 oz. (full pint).  The 4 oz. jar is $2; the 8 oz. jar is $4; and the 16 oz. jar is $6 or 2 for $10.

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All funds earned from the sale of these jars of taste bud delights will be used to purchase a case of Suzuki ToneChime bars to be used for our clients who are hospitalized and for those who require a more sterile environment for the management of their conditions. A single case of chimes costs in the neighborhood of $700 plus shipping and handling.

Music Therapy - Chimers

Having these ToneChime bars would allow us to add another method of providing music therapy services with other instruments that can be more effectively sanitized, and would allow us to make sure that the services our clients receive are effective and beneficial for their overall wellness and well-being.

Every little bit helps us get that much closer to our goal. What better way to give to charity than to have a delicious treat to go with it?

Thank you for helping us with our “Bit of Butter…Pear Butter That Is” campaign. Stay tuned to hear more about our charity walk.

Best wishes for a grooving day and at least one moment that makes your heart smile,

The Gsus Music Therapy Treatment Team and the Gsus Music Therapy Family

Humanistic approach: What’s that mean?

There are a few moving parts we think it would be a good idea to cover to answer this question.

Moving part 1: the “humanistic approach” means “client- or person-centered” approach to a therapeutic relationship. Anyone who comes to Gsus Music Therapy Services & Center, LLC, is a human being first. They are a human being with unique thoughts, feelings, ideas, and experiences that all go into making them the wonderful being they are at the time we meet them. Although we do take into account any diagnosis and mediating conditions, reactions, and a whole slew of other things unique to the individual(s) in front of us; we do not allow ourselves to forget they are a human being and a person worthy of unconditional positive regard and kindness. It is your therapy. You are the focus of what we do.

Carl Rogers developed the concept of a therapist being a human being with an individual first; and a therapist second. He defined it by saying, “It is that the individual has within himself or herself vast resources for self-understanding, for altering his or her self-concept, attitudes and self-directed behavior – and that the resources can be tapped if only a definable climate of facilitative psychological attitudes can be provided” (Rogers, 1986). That’s quite a mouthful, right? We think a more simple way of saying the same thing is that everyone has the ability to discover who they are, to understand why they think the way they do and respond to things the way they do, and to realize what their best self can look like in the midst of any of life’s storms and trials.

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Moving part 2: “client- or person-centered” really means “mind, body, and spirit”. These three elements are what makes an individual an individual. Although philosophers have been debating for centuries what is man; one thing they all have been able to agree on is that a human is a mind, a body, and a spirit. The mind, the body, and the spirit are unique. There is no one like you…anywhere. There are those who may think similarly, but they do not think identically to you. There are those who may like the same things you do, but they cannot like them the way you do. And even though we all feel things, there is no one anywhere who will ever know exactly how what you are feeling feels like. We think Dr. Seuss says it best, “Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You”.

So how does all of this fit into the therapeutic process?

Moving part 3: Have you ever heard the old adage, “You are what you eat?” Just like we feed our bodies, we also feed our minds and our spirits. And just like what we feed our bodies has a direct effect on how well our body is in balance and can perform and stand up to illness, disease, and stress; what we feed our minds and spirits matters and the same kind of benefits apply. Most people don’t think about this concept of self being made of 3 components often. Through the humanistic approach to a therapeutic relationship, we help you learn about your self – all of your thoughts, feelings, ideas, and experiences that make you who you are. We help you see your diagnosis and mediating conditions, reactions, and a whole slew of other things that you face from a different angle. We help you discover, analyze, compose, and record your own soundtrack for your life based on your experiences, thoughts, feelings, ideas, and diagnosis so your self has a more balanced diet. We like to think of it in these terms: Our bodies hear everything our mouths say, our minds think about everything we feel, and we feel everything we say and think about.

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? 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 gsus.musictherapy@gmail.com or fill out the ‘Contact Us‘ form right here on our site.

We wish you the grooviest of days and at least moment that takes your breath away and makes your heart smile!

The Gsus Music Therapy Treatment Team

Dealing With and Overcoming Life’s Challenges with Music Therapy

Sometimes in life you will find yourself between a rock and a hard place. What you thought of as normal, will be completely different. Things in your life will have changed. How you feel about things in your life will have shifted. What you feel about your life and the direction it is heading will have been altered. How you see and interact with people in your life will have been altered. And sometimes, even those who are still in your life will look different. Learning how to cope through the changes brought on by life and rediscovering “normal” can sometimes be a challenge.

Music therapy can help you find your “new normal” and reconcile your past. You can learn new coping skills to help manage and overcome emotional chaos. Music therapy is beneficial for individuals who have experienced and are dealing with trauma – whether it be rape, domestic violence, loss, natural disasters, abuse, crisis, or war. Music Therapy28There are many methods of empirically identified music therapy interventions that allow an individual to explore their feelings, ideas, and experiences. Therapeutic instrument music playing allows an individual to express themselves non-verbally when they may have difficulty talking about how they feel. Guided imagery journeying allows an individual to process their emotions and experiences through music. Songwriting and singing and recording allows an individual to put music and song to their experiences and release them. Having and participating in music therapy does not require any previous musical experience or knowledge. Many of our clients come to us to learn how to more effectively cope with the stressors of their lives and to learn a new “normal”.

There can be feelings of peace and well-being even when life is turbulent, even when there are trials and tribulations, even when there seems to be no end in sight, even in the midst of recovery, even when the emotions overwhelm, and even when the light at the end of the tunnel seems so far away. Suicide does not have to be an option. Persistent and invasive depressive thinking does not have to be a way of life. One flashback after another does not have to be your “new normal”. There is more in this life for you. There is more in you than the trauma you experienced. What has happened to you does not have to be what defines you.

If you find yourself having difficulty engaging in your day-to-day life, find yourself affected by fear, anxiety, or depression, and plagued by flashbacks of your trauma… Music therapy can help.  If you find yourself using or abusing alcohol or drugs to help you cope, wondering when you lost yourself, or have tried talk therapy and found it was not right for you… Music therapy can be just what the doctor ordered. If you find yourself feeling like all hope is lost… Music therapy can be the key to opening new doors in your life. If you find yourself struggling to put one foot in front of the other… Music therapy can help to re-energize your life. You do not have to go through it alone.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please do not hesitate to ask. We do not mind talking about what we do.

Thank you so much for taking the time to check us out. Our goal here at Gsus Music Therapy Services & Center is to BE the CHANGE we WANT to SEE within our community and in the lives of others; and we are committed to doing it one song at a time.

If you have any questions or would additional information about music therapy or our services, please contact us at 512.754.9631, or send us an email at gsus.musictherapy.com, or fill out the ‘Contact Us’ form right here on our website.

Best wishes for a grooving day and at least one moment that makes your heart smile!

The Gsus Music Therapy Treatment Team

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