While many people have heard of music therapy, one apostolate of the TORs has spent her time after college investing in this field.
Anna Goedtke, a graduate from the University of Minnesota with a bachelors in music therapy, spoke to students and faculty on Wednesday about her profession as a music therapist before she entered the TORs.
Goedtke said she has worked with children with autism, as well as with adults diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.
Goedtke began her talk with an example of how she would start a therapy session—by playing a song. She pointed out how this engages the audience members and helps them to begin the session well.
Goedtke highlighted some of the history of the use of music and medicine together. Goedtke said that during World War I and II was when music therapy really became popular, when music was used to boost the morale of veterans in hospitals.
Music therapy has helped in other instances, such as in the case of congresswoman Gabby Giffords, who regained her speech with the use of music therapy after a bullet wound, said Goetdke.
Music is used to decrease pain perception, said Goetke. “I would use it by matching it to the level … and I could just see the muscles relax.”
This type of thing is not hypothetical, said Goetke. “We can actually see music helping relax the person.”
Music is also used to treat people by guiding them to walk to a certain beat, helping them to improve their walk, said Goetke.
Goetke said much of her work also involved receiving calls from social workers and nurses who told her they had patients who no longer wanted to be on anxiety medicine. In her role, she would help them to get over their anxiety.
This was done through “possible interventions,” said Goetke, such as songwriting and singing.
Goetke said working with children with autism many times involved teaching them to calm down, mostly through playing soft music.
“Our body is entrained to music because music has rhythm. … You can use music to bring down the rhythm of our body,” said Goetke.
Working with older people, Goetke said she would figure out from their physical therapist what they needed to work on, whether it was lower body strength, such as tapping their feet, or upper body strength, such as clapping their hands or raising their arms.
Goetke said it takes a lot of time and dedication.
“As you work in a setting, you look for a certain population and learn what they need,” said Goetke.
The talk was sponsored by the Gemelli club, which is part of the Sociology and Psychology Departments.
Beatrice Ruiv, a senior psychology major and president of the club, said each month the club tries to host one or two speakers to talk about their professions.
Ruiv said the goal of the club is to equip psychologists, sociologists and social workers to not only be good in their field, but also to be Catholic in all aspects of their work.
“This allows us to bring in individuals and show them what it means to be not only a music therapist, but also Catholic,” said Ruiv. “(Music therapy) is new and exciting, and it’s definitely an up and coming branch of psychology.”