While I call myself a therapeutic music practitioner to help people understand what it is that I do, my training however was in the field of Music-thanatology.
If you are like most people the term Music-thanatology is one you may have never come across.
I trained in this specialised music discipline for two and a half years at a school based at a hospital in MT in the USA and have been offering this form of care in Australia since 1997.
A certified Music-thanatologist is trained to offer live, prescriptively played music (harp and voice) at the bedside of patients facing the end of their lives. Over the years I have broadened the application of my music to include recovering patients as well, but the focus of the training in music-thanatology was entirely for palliative care.
An essential component to this offering involves bringing an attitude of compassion, and an attentive, loving presence that is expressed through the music. I know this may sound a bit mushy to those with a cynical disposition but it is nonetheless very real. The effect is profound.
Musical sessions usually culminate in a comfortable deep silence.
The benefits of this form of care have been well-researched, as shown in two Deakin University reports availlable for purchase.
If you would like to know more, click here where you can read an extensive overview of the discipline of Music-thanatology with questions and answers.
More information can also be found in a range of media interviews and articles.