Journey Into Wholeness
Since I returned to Japan about a year and a half ago, I’ve been writing and speaking about music therapy – what it is, what it is not, and how it’s used in hospice & palliative care, the area of my specialty.
I’ve learned that music therapy is not well recognized in Japan (although I had known this, it was still shocking), and that it is often misunderstood. Yet there is great need for the service with the increasing aging population and those who are still recovering from the massive disaster that struck the country in 2011.
Over the past year I’ve received many interesting questions from people here, especially from the health care professionals:
“We’ve been inviting musicians to our hospital for a concert. That is not music therapy?!”
“In our facility we play recorded music all day, and the residents can not turn it down. Do you think that is good?”
“We have a music therapist who visits our facility every weekend, and she does it for free. In fact she does music therapy as a volunteer at several local facilities. Isn’t that what you do, too?”
Actually, these questions sound familiar to me, because I was asked the same sort of questions even in the U.S where music therapy is better recognized than it is in Japan. This reminds me of what my former music therapy professor once said:
“~maybe one of the hardest things for any music therapist is helping people understand what music therapy is.” (From “An Interview with Jim Borling”)
Next month I’m offering a seminar at various locations in Tokyo, speaking to the general public and the health care professionals about the overview of music therapy as well as the use of music in end-of-life care. My hope is to get people interested in music therapy and expand their ideas about its possibility.
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