Here at Metro Music Therapy, we truly believe that our Veterans should be honored every day!
We are proud to tell you more about our newest partnership with Emory Healthcare.
Emory Healthcare Veterans Program
It has been our honor to recently come alongside the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program (EHVP) to provide music therapy services to the veterans and service members in their care. EHVP is a part of the Wounded Warrior Project’s Warrior Care Network, a nationwide program which recognizes the stress of military service and the challenges of returning to civilian life. Post-9/11 veterans and service members struggling with invisible wounds such as PTSD, TBI, MST, Anxiety or Depression, may benefit from this free and confidential Intensive Outpatient Program.
During our sessions at the Emory Healthcare Veterans Program, veterans collaborate with each other to relax, express themselves, share coping skills, and build confidence and self-esteem. Each veteran brings a unique perspective and experience, and it is my honor to facilitate these groups.– Hayley Oliver, LPMT, MT-BC
We hope you enjoy the special edition of the MMT Newsletter, wherein we highlight our work specific to Veterans. You can read the entire newsletter here.
Extra! Extra! Read all about it! Our latest newsletter is out and features the newest updates from MMT.
Septembers edition includes…
- A newly hired Metro team member
- An update from our up and running North Carolina branch led by Bailey Hunt, MT-BC
- Updated information regarding MMT’s funding source and how you can help
- A highlight on MMT’s newest music therapy intern
- New instruments featured
- A recap of our recent online Veteran Wellness Session
Be sure to visit our website for more information. Click down below to access the entire write-up and be on the lookout for our upcoming newsletter in the near future!
Metro Music Therapy has the privilege of working with numerous impactful organizations who strive to make a difference in the lives of others. One organization that MMT has a long standing relationship with is Music Therapy of the Rockies located in Colorado. Music Therapy of the Rockies mission is to provide quality services and life-changing opportunities for veterans across the country. As part of this initiative, Music Therapy of the Rockies began songwriting retreats for veterans who suffer from PTSD and other service-related injuries. The retreats originated in Nashville, TN on Amy Grant’s farm where they remain each year.
Mallory Even, Owner and Founder of MMT, and Laura Lenz, Assistant Director, have been fortunate enough to attend multiple veteran songwriting retreats in both Nashville and Atlanta. Each retreat is a two and a half day experience consisting of music therapy groups and songwriting sessions with a professional songwriter telling the veteran’s original story. Mallory Even shared that “veterans learn to play guitar and receive a guitar to keep” once the retreat finishes. “The entire weekend ends with a concert in which each veteran’s song is showcased” says Even.
So, how does music therapy play a direct role in each songwriting retreat? “Music therapy is integral to the entire weekend and to the schedule and set up of the retreats” shared Even. Laura Lenz shared that “Board-certified music therapists are trained to recognize and support the veterans’ experiences in such a way that their safety and well-being is always at the forefront.” Music therapists apply their training in recognizing and understanding the neurological aspects of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and Traumatic Brain Injuries to structure the musical experience for the benefit of the veteran. Application of counseling skills and facilitating the veteran’s experience in a comfortable, safe environment ensures a successful songwriting session.
When asked why this experience is so beneficial to veterans, Mallory stated that “when veterans share their story through song, they own a piece of it that they may never have been able to before, and tell it in a way that is their choice.” Those involved in the weekend activities offer a safe, non-judgmental environment to offer the ability to share some of their darkest and hardest stories to tell. “This process can be very healing not only in the moment, but long-term” says Even. When looking at the long-term benefits, there have been countless accounts from attendees of praise and gratitude for the veterans songwriting retreats. “Music Therapy of the Rockies is engaging in research to take brain images before a retreat and then the same images of the same veteran six months after a retreat…their preliminary results are showing increased blood flow in the brain and Music Therapy of the Rockies truly believes this is the physiological benefit of the retreat experience” Mallory shared. In addition, Laura mentioned that she has spoken to many of the veterans post-retreat and there is a “universal expression of appreciation for the tools they are taught during these retreats such as using their guitars to help them through stressful times and utilizing the techniques of music and relaxation throughout their day.”
Freely sharing and letting the music write difficult stories is a beautiful, heartfelt process to watch for all involved. It’s hard to pinpoint one specific highlight of each retreat, but Mallory states that “it’s the people, hands down! The music therapists, the veterans, and the songwriters.” While Laura agrees, she adds that “it is one of the highest honors of my life to be allowed the opportunity to be a tiny part of being in the presence of these remarkable people whose stories are told in such a glorious way through the songwriters’ talent and compassion along with the music therapists who are so dedicated to the entirety of the people and process.”
We are forever grateful to work alongside Music Therapy of the Rockies and be a part of their amazing work for our veterans. Metro is also fortunate to host our own retreats in the Atlanta area which are graciously funded, planned, and led by Music Therapy of the Rockies. We, at Metro Music Therapy, continue to live by our mission statement of, “We Can Help.” Our team members are dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of those who sacrificed so much. We try to accurately express our thoughts and emotions upon attending veteran songwriting retreats, but as Laura beautifully said, “words truly don’t capture the experience.”
Music therapists have the privilege of working with a wide variety of populations, one of which being military personnel. Our profession is grounded in our service to our American soldiers and veterans. Music therapy began post-WWI when musicians were requested to provide music for thousands of veterans who had suffered emotional and physical traumas. Soon after, music therapy evolved and has grown into the profession we know and love today.
Metro Music Therapy is honored to have worked with countless veterans over the years through the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) and other organizations dedicated to the health and wellbeing of our service members. One of Metro’s own, Hayley Oliver, currently provides music therapy services to a handful of veterans through an outpatient PTSD program and WWP clients. She began her work with this population during her internship and has had the privilege of working alongside other music therapy professionals, songwriters, and veterans at 3 songwriting retreats in Nashville, TN as a board-certified music therapist.
Music therapy services are effective in group or one-on-one settings. Hayley states that “both can be excellent tools for veterans, and each format has its own strengths.” Through individual work, music therapists are able to tailor every detail of the experience to the specific veteran’s needs and preferences. “Sessions can progress at the veteran’s pace, and an intimate, therapeutic relationship can be formed” says Hayley. On the other hand, group work allows veterans to collaborate and bond not only with the music therapist, but also with the other participants. This, in turn, offers opportunities to socially engage with peers in fun, recreational activities, as well as foster a supportive and safe environment for moments of vulnerability and deep interpersonal connection.
A variety of music therapy interventions can be used to attain specific, time-bound goals set for the individual or group. Interventions such as lyric analysis and songwriting address mental health needs by providing opportunities for healthy trauma processing. Hayley adds that “these interventions provide a structure for self-expression, allowing veterans to explore memories and emotions in a safe, supported environment.” Other interventions include instrument playing, singing, or learning an instrument to help with coping skills, physical, and neurological goals while aiming to decrease anxiety, depression, intense anger, and suicidal ideation. Hayley states that when working with a veteran with a traumatic brain injury, “music interventions are designed to strengthen relevant regions of the brain specific to the veteran’s needs, abilities, and interests.”
So, why and how is music therapy for veterans beneficial? Music therapy uses music, a unique and powerful tool, to play a role in all forms of wellness for the client. “An ever growing body of research shows us just how integral music is to every aspect of our lives, from our social and spiritual practices to the rhythms of our heart and breath.” New neural pathways are able to be formed simply by listening to music. Hayley goes on to say that “research into the psychology of music shows us the invaluable role music plays in emotional wellbeing, both individually and collectively.”
When asked what her favorite part about working with veterans is, Hayley stated that it involves “watching them rediscover their sense of identity and personal power.” Veterans can often feel a loss of control and disconnect from themselves, but with music therapy they are able to feel capable and empowered in all aspects of their lives. Hayley says that she is “honored to be a part of their journeys.”
If you would like to begin veterans services for yourself or a loved one, please visit our contact tab on the website or fill out our Client Intake Form on the New Clients tab.
Thank you veterans for your service. We would be happy to serve you.
The end of summer is quickly approaching! As enjoyable as this summer was, it’s time to start planning ahead for the fall and back-to-school months. The services Metro Music Therapy offers could be the perfect addition to you or your family’s schedule!
At Metro, we provide one-on-one and group services spanning multiple domains and diagnoses. Our team’s experience as board-certified music therapists allows us to cater to all client’s needs by tailoring each session to meet their desired goals and objectives. Our team serves the following populations…Developmental Delay, Autism, At-Risk Youth, Grief & Loss, Mental Health, Veterans, Refugees, and Hospice & Palliative Care. Visit our homepage, and click each box to read, in detail, exactly how we approach and carefully consider the needs of each client.
If you think Metro would fit well into your weekly routine, give us a call or reach out via email! We would love to serve you in the near future. The end of summer is a perfect time to bring enhancement into your life! We look forward to hearing from you!
Six-months into this “new norm,” and everything still feels very strange and heavy.
On the way to my office this morning, I heard these statistics on the radio, and I had to take a minute to wrap my head around these numbers that were screaming out to me over the car stereo:
Military suicides have increased by as much as 20% this year compared to the same period in 2019 …
And senior Army leaders — who say they’ve seen about a 30% jump in active duty suicides so far this year — told The Associated Press that they are looking at shortening combat deployments … *
Last year, the suicide rates, 20% lower than now, were still too high and unacceptable. It is overwhelming to think of each and every one of the lives that have been tragically changed because of these statistics.
I do not have all of the answers, and these situations can be so complicated; but I do know that music therapy services can help our active-duty military members and veterans. Not only does our field have the research to show this, but we have firsthand anecdotal evidence that music therapy can improve overall well-being and the outlook for the sometimes long road ahead.
Our team provides in-person and telehealth music therapy services for Veterans and active duty military personnel, and we are also very proud to partner with Music Therapy of the Rockies, a non-profit very near and dear to us who provides Songwriting Retreats for Veterans with PTSD.
If you or a loved-one is struggling due to military-related trauma, please know that we can help — no matter where you are. Our team now provides telehealth services to clients all over the globe, and we would be honored to walk alongside you during this crucial time.
With you in the hard times and the good,
*Read the full article from WSB News & Talk here.
Memorial Day is a day to remember and mourn the military personnel who have given their lives so that we may continue to live in freedom with our families and friends.
Here at Metro Music Therapy, we take today to remember, celebrate, and appreciate all who have given their lives so that we may continue to live.
We have known many of you, and have never met most of you; but today, we celebrate all of you.
Thank you — and may we honor your lives by never taking for granted the immeasurable gift you have given to us all, and by continuing to uphold and sustain each other through the good times and most especially through the hard times.
With our deepest gratitude,
The Metro Music Therapy Team