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Alumni Interview: Jen Spivey #103

Jen Spivey, #103

Interviewed by Kristen McSorley, Current Intern #124

Jen Spivey, currently working on her master’s thesis, beautifully articulates her experiences as a MusicWorx intern in the following interview. She discusses the rewards that came from witnessing a client transform from hesitant to invested in music therapy and also recognizes the importance of her own self-doubt in her growth as a professional. Jen’s attitude towards her own learning can be summarized in her advice to future interns: “Internship is a great transitional opportunity to begin to stretch your wings as a therapist.

Enjoy Jen’s answers to the interview questions below:

1. What is your current job? Would you say MusicWorx helped you get to where you are today?

1a. I am not currently employed. I am working on my master’s thesis as I near completion of my dual degree in Music Therapy and Counseling & Development. I also serve as both the Secretary/Treasurer and the Executive Assistant of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT).

1b. Challenges faced and skills learned as I worked on my internship project certainly helped prepare me in many ways for my thesis. During my time at MusicWorx, I began to develop a clearer vision of the clinical populations that really spoke to me.
2. What drew you to the MusicWorx internship?

I liked the diversity of clinical populations served by MusicWorx.

3. What was your favorite moment of your MusicWorx experience?

One moment that stands out to me is when a client who had been skeptical of music therapy came up to me after a group session and asked if I would be willing to help him develop some of his writings into a song. It was incredibly validating to see such a transformation in his investment in music therapy and, I felt, a testament to the power of the therapeutic relationship.

4. Are there any aspects of what you learned at MusicWorx internship that best prepared you for your career today?

Definitely. There are so many advocacy opportunities during the internship, which I think is such a crucial skill to develop as a young professional. Flexibility within selecting our internship projects allowed me to try my hand at program development and provided a lot of insight to its challenges and rewards. Both of those are critical to my areas of interest, and I’m thankful to have had an opportunity to begin developing those skills in a supportive learning environment.

5. What was one of your biggest challenges during your internship?

The clinical experiences were so different from the majority of my practicum experiences back home, and I went through a season of self-doubt regarding my skill set and my preparedness to be a professional. In hindsight, I can see how instrumental that was to both my personal and professional growth and how it laid a foundation in advance of beginning my counseling clinical experiences.

6. What was your biggest “aha!” moment for your professional and/or personal growth?

Learning to trust my therapeutic intuition (tying in with #5). I’d long been wrestling with how to reconcile my theoretical orientation and my prior clinical experiences, and I think that season of doubt and instability cleared a path for me to begin integrating a lot of elements in my journey.

7. What would be your one piece of advice to future MusicWorx interns?

Ask questions, and don’t fear mistakes! Internship is a great transitional opportunity to begin to stretch your wings as a therapist while benefiting from close supervision and support. You’ll make mistakes, and it’s okay. Barbara doesn’t expect you to be perfect. Rather, she and other internship supervisors help you to evaluate yourself in a way that offers opportunities for growth while celebrating areas of strength. It’s a busy, full six months, but it’s well worth the investment you make.

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