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How Great Thou Art

Over the past few weeks, our team has been hard at work behind the scenes creating a virtual choir/orchestra as a gift for Ravi Zacharias from his daughter, Naomi Zacharias, who is the Director of Wellspring International.

MMT and Wellspring have partnered together over the last five years to provide music therapy services through our Songs of Hope program to hospice patients, bereaved children, and refugees who have resettled in the Atlanta area.

When Naomi approached our team with the request of creating this gift for her father, who has been undergoing cancer treatment over the last few months, we were humbled to have been asked.

Everyone at Wellspring International and RZIM have become near and dear to us over the years, and we wholeheartedly respect and admire the work they do around the globe.

While Naomi and her family navigate this difficult journey, we are honored to provide comfort in the way that we know best: through music.

You can watch the MMT virtual choir, beginning with a heartfelt message from Naomi, here.

To the Zacharias family: our thoughts, hearts, and love are with you all. #ThankYouRavi

With sincere gratitude and love,

 

Music Therapy Advocacy!

Happy Music Therapy Advocacy Month!

As a music therapy intern who just completed my internship at Metro Music Therapy, I have had the opportunity to experience the multitude of ways that music therapy can positively transform patients’ lives. Academic classes in college certainly hammered in AMTA’s definition of music therapy such that I could recite it in my sleep: “the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” Practicum sites in college gave me glimpses of how that definition applied to direct patient care. However, completing internship and learning to implement such music interventions with a more diverse variety of populations than I could have ever imagined has given me new insight into the importance of music therapy advocacy.

Music therapy groups can create a safe space with a sense of belonging for youth in the foster care system who have rarely known what belonging felt like before. They can create a welcoming community for refugee children who are navigating an entirely new country. Music therapy can provide comfort and relief from agitation for hospice patients who are nearing the end of their lives. It can increase quality of life for residents in nursing homes, assisted living, and memory care units. Music therapy can provide a unique outlet for emotional expression and processing for veterans who are suffering from symptoms of PTSD. It can help mitigate symptoms of mental illness for individuals in a behavioral health facility. Music therapy can do all of this and so much more.

Atlanta Veteran Songwriting Retreat – November 2019

With increasing advocacy efforts for music therapy, music therapists can continue to work with the populations most commonly served, expand services for those populations less commonly served, and design new programs to reach populations that have not yet had the opportunity to reap the benefits of high-quality music therapy care. As I have seen during my time at Metro Music Therapy, with a positive attitude that anything is possible, music therapy can continue to transform clients’ and patients’ lives for the better.

– Written by Haley Smith

What If Christmas Makes Me Cry?

*In accordance with HIPAA, and out of respect for our client’s privacy, the name “Ruth” will be used as an alias in this blog post.*

Happy Holidays!
Merry Christmas!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year! …right?
Or, at least… it’s supposed to be?

For a great many people – maybe yourself included – this season truly is a time of good cheer, fond memories, gatherings of family and friends, bright spirits, colorful decorations, and cherished traditions. It’s a time to be grateful, to be kind and compassionate.
And I sincerely hope that the holidays bring all of this and more to you and yours!

But acknowledging, and even experiencing, all of these warm emotions and happy thoughts typically associated with the holidays certainly does not negate or invalidate those painful feelings that may also be stirred up at this time of year.
Joy may be followed by sadness. Laughter may be preceded by tears.
Maybe the gift you’re really hoping for this season is just a little bit of relief from the seemingly constant fatigue, stress, irritability, anxiety, depression, etc. Stressors like lack of time, lack of money, commercialism, pressures (whether perceived or stated) of gift-giving, and loneliness can feel all the more amplified when the rest of the world seems to be telling you to celebrate. Family gatherings can bring up difficult and painful memories, whether of childhood trauma or the loss of a loved one.

As Music Therapists, colleagues, friends, brothers, sisters, parents, neighbors – it’s important to remember that any number of painful circumstances, situations, or seemingly conflicting emotions could be the reality of the person sitting next to us this holiday season.
Our clients, our friends, our family could very well be hurting, and that pain might even be brought to surface by the very season that’s intended to bring joy, peace, and good will.

Take the phrase, “Happy Holidays!” for example.
Do you ever feel a sense of pressure when you hear that?
What if I’m not happy at all? Am I doing this wrong? Shouldn’t I be happy right now?
What’s intended as a simple expression of well-wishes can start to feel like a command.
“Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. Do it.”

Kacey Musgraves says it well in her song “Christmas Makes Me Cry.”
Let’s pause and take a listen.


So how do we respond when Christmas makes us cry?

One good rule of thumb is validation. 
It’s okay not to be okay.
It’s alright if Christmas makes you want to curl up in a ball.
And if the last thing you want to hear right now is another chestnut roasting, sugar-plum dreaming, mistletoe waiting, bell jingling, sleighing song, then so be it!

A client – let’s call her Ruth – recently said to me, “I’m dealing with a lot of holiday depression right now. Is it okay if we don’t do Christmas music? I’d rather just keep singing country songs with you, if that’s alright. That actually helps me feel better.”

Can’t you almost hear that sense of pressure?
Ruth was asking *me* if *I* would be okay with not doing Christmas songs –
and of course that’s okay, because the session is for her.
But, since it’s “the most wonderful time of the year,” Christmas songs are just expected. And maybe they don’t need to be. 
Especially if they’re a detriment to a person’s mental health.

If Alan Jackson’s “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” does more good for your soul than “Silent Night” right now, then that is okay. Really. And if you change your mind later and feel like singing “Joy to the World,” that’s okay too!

Ruth, in fact, did ask for Christmas songs the following week (“The upbeat ones, though, not the sentimental ones.”) We sang “Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer” and had a good laugh!

All of this to say, whatever you’re experiencing this holiday season, it’s worth respecting and acknowledging.
If you want to laugh, do it heartily. If you need to cry, then go right ahead.

It may not be a bright, shiny, sing-songy, happy good time, and that’s alright. (Though I hope it is!)
To paraphrase [or, y’know, just rewrite] the song “White Christmas:”

May your days be whatever they need to be right now,
And may all your Christmases be white.

If you’ll allow me to finish with a simple expression of goodwill – for real, though, no pressure –
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!


– Written by Kevin Middlebrooks, LPMT, MT-BC


Resources:
What We Know About the Holiday Blues
The Bronfenbrenner Center for Translational Research, 2017
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/evidence-based-living/201712/what-we-know-about-the-holiday-blues

Photo: xenia_gromak / Photocase

Expecting the Unexpected

I am a planner. I like to have a plan for most things that I do, and even when I don’t have a plan, I like to at least plan for the fact that there will be no plan. I think it mostly comes from a desire to know what I should be expecting. A desire to be prepared, mentally, emotionally, etc.

In other words, me and Surprise don’t quite Harmonize.

But the world of Music Therapy is full of surprises – some big, some small – and that’s something that I’m growing to at least appreciate, if not yet fully embrace (I’m working on it!)
Rather than a predictable and repetitive melody, this job feels more like free jazz sometimes. That is to say: it can feel a little all over the place! Just when you think you know what chord must be coming next, you’ve shifted into a new key. Right as you get a feel for the beat, the drummer drops his sticks and starts playing trombone instead. During a session with a client in a common area, a well-intentioned passerby visiting the facility hands you a grapefruit with a wink and a, “What you’re doing is so nice, keep it up!” (True story.)
You never quite know what your week might entail!

There are certainly constants that remain true in every session, every interaction, every song and every intervention. And, as mentioned in a previous post, structure and repetition are valuable tools in Music Therapy (See: Déjà Vu! Repetition in Music Therapy) But I’ve started to notice that one of those constants is fluctuation. One of the things we as therapists can Expect – with some degree of certainty – is the Unexpected.

We can expect songs and interventions to take a turn and become something entirely different.
We can expect clients to enjoy instruments and songs we never thought they’d like.
We can expect to forget instruments and materials and need to improvise – and we can expect those moments to perhaps be even more engaging and beneficial for our clients than whatever we had initially planned! (Who knew?)
We can expect cancellations, rescheduling, relocating, and visitors.
We can expect to be offered a grapefruit in the middle of a session.
(Okay, maybe that one’s a stretch.)

A lot of these surprises are good things! When we can embrace the Unexpected, “roll with the punches,” and learn to improvise (musically or otherwise) to suit the situation, our clients often benefit. And so do we.

But other surprises can be more challenging.
Other surprises can be harder to respond to.
Because no matter how much you think you’ve prepared, no matter how long it might have even been Expected, no matter the fact that you know full well what Hospice care means…

The death of a client can still knock you off your feet.

Which, I think, in its own way, is a good thing. Therapeutic relationships are meaningful for the therapist as well as for the client, and grief is a natural, human response to loss. So the fact that it can be hard to “roll” with this particular “punch” is no surprise. In fact, it’s evidence of empathy, confirmation of care, the mark of a meaningful relationship. But it is still hard.

If we can Expect the Unexpected, isn’t the opposite also true?
Something Expected can still catch us off guard.
So what do we do when an Expected outcome arrives Unexpectedly?
How do we make sense of the surprising event when it suddenly comes?
I certainly don’t have answers, but I know that it’s okay to feel shocked.
To feel uncertain.
To not be prepared.
To not have a plan.

Rather than trying to file those things away with a logical (but maybe somewhat robotic), “It was Expected, and I had prepared,” we can try to appreciate the (natural, human) feeling of surprise, even if not quite embracing it yet. And maybe that can better equip us to support those who are feeling significantly more shocked and uncertain than we in the wake of this “Expected” event.
Because remembering that even the Expected can still be entirely Unexpected might just help us to Harmonize with the Surprised.

– Written by Kevin Middlebrooks, LPMT, MT-BC

Remember Me: Music Therapy in Disney-Pixar’s “Coco”

I’ve been a huge fan of Pixar’s films for as long as I can remember. To put that in perspective, I was one of the kids going off to college just a few years after Andy did when Toy Story 3 was released. All that to say, I was more than a little excited to see Coco on the big screen back in November. While I was fully expecting to love the movie, I did not anticipate how perfectly the film would demonstrate the power of music to stimulate long-term memory. I did not expect a funny, yet touching, animated scene to portray the ability of music to reduce pain and promote relaxation at the end of life. I was not expecting a Music Therapy Movie, but boy was I thrilled to see one!

…Okay, so maybe calling Coco a “Music Therapy Movie” is a bit of an over-statement. After all, none of the characters in the movie are Board-Certified Music Therapists. And beyond just the musical elements on display, there’s a whole lot to love about Miguel’s adventure through the Land of the Dead. But as a Music Therapist, seeing two of the most powerful moments in the film so closely tied to my occupation (and so beautifully depicted) gets me excited. The healing and connecting power of music in these moments is undeniable, and there are some very important specifics about the ways that music is used that really get to the heart of Music Therapy. Let’s take a look at these two scenes.
What exactly is happening, and what makes it (close to) Music Therapy?

***SPOILER ALERT:
Remaining content contains plot points from Disney-Pixar’s Coco***

SCENE 1: “Everyone Knows Juanita”
Miguel and Héctor arrive in a town where, according to Héctor, everyone has been more or less forgotten. There is no one left in the Land of the Living to remember them. In “Land of the Dead” terms, these people are nearing the end of their afterlives. When their living descendants no longer remember who they are, they will experience what Héctor calls the “second death.” No one knows what happens to these people, but their skeletal bodies fade away, and are not seen again. In “health profession” terms, Miguel and Héctor are entering hospice and palliative territory – end-of-life care. Enter Chicharrón.

Chicharrón is a grizzled old man lying in a pile of collected treasures – one of which is the guitar that Héctor has come to borrow. Chicharrón, though initially opposed to lending Héctor anything, experiences what appears to be an intense surge of pain as he glows orange: a mark of the impending “second death.” Chicharrón, defeated, says that he could no longer play the guitar anymore if he wanted to. After all, he is nearing his end. Chicharrón agrees to give Héctor the guitar on one condition: that Héctor plays him a song.
And then he says something important: “You know my favorite.”

What we see is an established relationship between Héctor and Chicharrón. Héctor is not just some kind stranger who has come to play soothing music. He knows Chicharrón. And Chicharrón knows, and feels safe (albeit acting a little gruff) with, Héctor. Rapport has already been established between the “therapist” (Héctor) and the “client” (Chicharrón). In fact, Chicharrón does not even have to name his favorite song. Héctor already knows. He begins to play a goofy song titled “Everyone Knows Juanita.” The lyrics of the song describe what might sound like unattractive features of a woman named Juanita, before “flipping the script”, as it were, with the final line:
“And if I weren’t so ugly, she’d possibly give me a chance.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c8q-pzrEIPc

Hardly a song one would expect in a Music Therapy session with a hospice patient who is actively dying. Right?
…Actually, this song is an important detail that makes this scene feel all the more like a good Music Therapy session!

A study by Laura A. Mitchell, BA (Hons.), MSc, PhD, and Raymond A.R. MacDonald, BSc, PhD –  published in the Journal of Music Therapy in December 2006 – examined the effects of “specially designed relaxation music”, as compared with “[clients’] own chosen music”, on pain perception, including tolerance time and pain intensity. And what they found seems to match what Héctor and Chicharrón knew intuitively: “While listening to their own preferred music, male and female participants tolerated the painful stimulus significantly longer than during both the relaxation music and control conditions” (Mitchell & MacDonald, 2006). And though only female participants reported significantly lower pain intensity during the “preferred music” condition, all participants reported feeling significantly more control in the “preferred music” condition. In other words, a song like “Everyone Knows Juanita”, goofy and “unusual” as it may be, is likely the best song to help Chicharrón relax and tolerate/reduce pain in this moment – because it’s his favorite!
Sure enough, Chicharrón sighs contentedly and lays back in his bed following the song – a stark contrast to the clenching pain he exhibits immediately prior. And with a “thank you”, he gently fades away.

SCENE 2: “Remember Me”
Alright, here’s the big one. The scene that will make you cry. The song “Remember Me” (Oscar Nominee for “Best Original Song”, by the way!) is present throughout the movie, but its most powerful, tender, and intimate moment appears near the end. Back home in the Land of the Living, Miguel softly sings with his great-grandmother, Mama Coco. The first thing to note in this scene is, again, Miguel’s song choice.

“Remember Me” was not merely a sweet song chosen at random.
Despite her significant cognitive decline and apparent unresponsiveness, Miguel has learned that Coco’s father (Miguel’s great-great-grandfather) wrote the song for her, and sang it with her when she was little. Thus, Miguel knew that the song was tied to an important (and emotional) memory for Mama Coco, and played it with a clear intention of sparking that memory.

And it does so in a beautiful way. First, we see her motor neurons begin to activate as she starts to tap her finger to the beat. Before long, Mama Coco, who has not spoken in quite some time, actually begins to sing with Miguel. She smiles and finally turns to look at Miguel as she sings with him. A woman who, not long prior, did not appear to recognize her own daughter, is recalling every word of a favorite childhood song. As Music Therapists, this is something we get to see a lot. Musical memory is some of the longest retained, as music activates so many parts of the brain: motor, speech and language, auditory, long-term memory, emotions, etc. By the end of the song, Coco does, in fact, recognize her daughter, and even begins to share stories about her parents. And so the Rivera family, who have chosen to hate music for generations, suddenly see it come through for them in a big way. Let’s pause here to check out this clip from “The Doctors” about music and the brain:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B5QVCxg5A3o

Another important detail to examine in this touching scene is the fact that Miguel played the song live, as opposed to simply playing a recording of “Remember Me.” And using her father’s old guitar, no less! In the context of the movie, the only known recording of “Remember Me” is sung by the famous musician Ernesto de la Cruz at an upbeat tempo, complete with a full band, choir, and virtuosic guitar solo. An impressive song, but not the one Coco knows and loves. After her father left the family, and her mother vowed never to let music into their lives again, how could she have heard de la Cruz’s rendition of the song? Certainly not on the radio. No, Coco’s “Remember Me” is a quiet and tender lullaby, sung from a father to his daughter. And it’s this song, with its sweet and simple accompaniment, that Miguel plays for her. Miguel, having heard both versions, chooses to play in the style with which Coco is most familiar:
The style of her papa.

So there it is! No, technically nothing in Disney-Pixar’s Coco can be called Music Therapy, because “Music Therapy” implies the presence of a Board-Certified Music Therapist. I know.
But! The power of a therapeutic relationship, song preference, and live music to promote relaxation, reduce pain, and stimulate long-term memory is evident throughout the film.
And who knows?
Maybe Coco 2 will introduce audiences to a newly certified Miguel Rivera, MT-BC!

– Written by Kevin Middlebrooks, LPMT, MT-BC

Laura A. Mitchell, Raymond A. R. MacDonald; An Experimental Investigation of the Effects of Preferred and Relaxing Music Listening on Pain Perception, Journal of Music Therapy, Volume 43, Issue 4, 1 December 2006, Pages 295–316, https://doi.org/10.1093/jmt/43.4.295

2018-02-06T05:43:53+00:00February 6th, 2018|Blog, Hospice Music Therapy, MT Advocacy, Music Therapy|

“Waiting for the Call” – Chuck’s Story

*In accordance with HIPAA, and out of respect for our client’s privacy, the name “Chuck” will be used as an alias throughout this blog post.
Photo and Video are used with permission from “Chuck” and his daughter.*

The word “hospice” often carries with it a heavy weight, evoking thoughts of death and the unknown. And while it is true that hospice care is provided in the final stages of life, hospice is a philosophy that strives to provide comfort, peace, and improved quality of life. In this context, Music Therapy can offer a safe, non-threatening medium for coping and self-expression, can alleviate pain, can provide valuable (and fun!) social opportunities, and can elicit cherished memories of the past, even while creating fond new memories. At Metro Music Therapy, we are honored to partner with Wellspring International for the Songs of Hope project, providing Hospice Music Therapy services (among other services) to our clients in the Atlanta area.

And after hearing a song like Chuck’s, I realize the name “Songs of Hope” couldn’t be more fitting!

As a Music Therapist, it’s always a joy getting to work with a client who shares a passion for music. When I first met Chuck and saw his impressive array of instruments – including guitar, mandolin, and bass guitar – I knew we were in for a fun time! Chuck has lived an especially musical life, traveling the country with a bluegrass gospel band. As we began talking, Chuck told me with excitement about the many large “Gospel Singings” that he’s helped to lead in his travels. In one session, Chuck stated, “It would be my pride and joy to lead one more big singing!” So that’s exactly what we did!

Over several weeks, we put together a set-list of some of Chuck’s favorite gospel tunes and hymns, creating songbooks for guests to sing along with, and practicing with one of Chuck’s friends (another talented musician who joined our group to play piano at the big event). In the course of all this, I’ve had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the faith, joy, and optimism that Chuck brings to everyone around him, and the peace to which he has already come regarding his current stage of life. For example, each time we sing “I’ll Fly Away”, Chuck insists that we change the lyrics of the final verse to “Just a few more happy [rather than “weary”] days, and then I’ll fly away.” More humbling still is Chuck’s goal for the event: “I want to share the message of these songs with as many people as want to come. That’s the best part.”

The final song on our set-list is my favorite, and one of Chuck’s very own composition – a song that he introduced to me on the first day we met! And goodness, is it catchy!
Take a listen below, and I guarantee you’ll be humming along.

 

“Waiting For the Call” became the anthem of our “Gospel Jubilee” event in the atrium of Chuck’s residential facility. It was such a powerful – and flat-out fun – moment, seeing Chuck stand before other residents, staff, friends, and family to lead us all in this uplifting tune! To hear Chuck sing with a smile on his face, “By faith I’m looking upward, just waiting for the call,” is a testament to his deep faith, and his peaceful expectation of what’s to come. It puts into words the joy that he carries with him, and that he gladly shares with others.
It is, without a doubt, a Song of Hope.

2017-11-17T17:09:44+00:00November 17th, 2017|Blog, Hospice Music Therapy, Music Therapy|

Another Year of Amazing …

songs of hope image2I will never forget the day this summer …

… that I received a phone call from the mother of a 13-year-old who had a terminal diagnosis. “I know that music therapy is effective for my child, but we cannot afford services on top of all of the medical bills. Is there a way that you can help?”

Because of our partnership with Wellspring International, my answer was, “Yes, we can help. We will have a music therapist come out to your home this week and begin services at no cost to you and your family.”

We received word last Friday that our grant-funded music therapy program, Songs of Hope, will be funded for the next fiscal year by Wellspring International (October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017).

What does this mean for Atlanta?

It means that hospice patients and their families, bereaved children, and refugees that are currently residing in Atlanta, will all have access to music therapy services at absolutely no cost to them.

It means that patients and their families can be supported during their darkest and most difficult times. It means that children can begin their healing process and have a supportive presence throughout their grief and loss journey. It means that refugees of all ages and from all over the world can receive support during some of life’s hardest transitions.

How has Songs of Hope already made in impact in Atlanta?

One of our partner hospice companies, Ark Hospice, says this of the Songs of Hope Music Therapy Program:

Our Ark Hospice team is truly so thankful for the services that MMT has provided to our patients and families. We have seen how their calming presence and therapeutic sessions have improved our patients’ lives. They’ve helped our patients with pain management, encouraged healthy coping skills, improved their quality of life and have facilitated emotional expression, reminiscence, and life review.

They also served many of our patients individually, and one particular patient struggled through a period of depression related to feeling purposeless in life. As Sam continued to meet with her and connect through music, he was able to help restore some confidence in her spiritual purpose and was able to provide healthy distraction from her anxiety and physical pain. He taught her coping skills that she was able to use when our team was not there to provide reassurance. She always talked about how much she enjoyed his visits and how she felt calmer and more at peace as a result.

Another patient was unable to speak English –  Spanish was her native language. Erin quickly volunteered to provide services to her and was able to play Spanish hymns and folk songs. Though this patient was nonverbal and Erin was only able to provide a few sessions before she was off of hospice services, her family was extremely appreciative and truly believed that her quality of life was greatly improved during her final weeks of life. They even asked Erin to play for her Memorial Service.

I know that these brief stories cannot adequately capture all that MMT had done, but I hope that they provide a snapshot of how music therapy has impacted our hospice patients throughout their end-of-life journeys. Thank you again for all that you do at Metro Music Therapy!

Elizabeth in session_edited-1

We are honored, humbled, and thrilled to be able to continue our partnership with Wellspring International in order to make a positive impact in the lives and hearts of the people of Atlanta.

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2016-12-03T04:33:09+00:00September 1st, 2016|Grief & Loss, Hospice Music Therapy, MT in Healthcare, news|

Thank you, Dr. Sacks

Written by Kally Ramminger, LPMT, MT-BC

I’ve watched the music therapy community mourn the death of Dr. Oliver Sacks over the past week. His legacy will live on forever, as he has helped so many people throughout the years understand the power that music has on one’s brain. Equally important, he also taught us the importance of preserving the humanity of every human being, regardless of their situation or diagnosis.

I’ve pulled together some of the most poignant words from Dr. Sacks (in my opinion), that have helped guide my understanding and role as a music therapist. Thank you, Dr. Oliver Sacks for your incredibly valuable contribution to this world.

You remind us that music is vital, essential to life.

Music can lift us out of depression or move us to tears – it is a remedy, a tonic, orange juice for the ear. But for many of my neurological patients, music is even more – it can provide access, even when no medication can, to movement, to speech, to life. For them, music is not a luxury, but a necessity.”

You remind us to look beyond the diagnosis of an individual.

In examining disease, we gain wisdom about anatomy and physiology and biology. In examining the person with disease, we gain wisdom about life.”

You remind us that our brain is fascinating organ and a never-ending exploration of knowledge.

It really is a very odd business that all of us, to varying degrees, have music in our heads.”

You remind us the power of death and the privilege we have as music therapists to be a part of the dying process.

When people die, they cannot be replaced. They leave holes that cannot be filled, for it is the fate — the genetic and neural fate — of every human being to be a unique individual, to find his own path, to live his own life, to die his own death.”

You remind us that no two people, diagnoses, or experiences are ever the same.

Individuality is deeply imbued in us from the very start, at the neuronal level. Even at a motor level, researchers have shown, an infant does not follow a set pattern of learning to walk or how to reach for something. Each baby experiments with different ways of reaching for objects and over the course of several months discovers or selects his own motor solutions. When we try to envisage the neural basis of such individual learning, we might imagine a “population” of movements (and their neural correlates) being strengthened or pruned away by experience.

Similar considerations arise with regard to recover and rehabilitation after strokes and other injuries. There are no rules; there is no prescribed path of recovery; every patient must discover or create his own motor and perceptual patterns, his own solutions to the challenges that face him; and it is the function of a sensitive therapist to help him in this.

And in its broadest sense, neural Darwinism implies that we are destined, whether we wish it or not, to a life of particularity and self-development, to make our own individual paths through life.”

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{All of the above quotes were direct words from Dr. Oliver Sacks.}

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