Today and on the 25th of every month of 2012 I have invited 12 of the most influential people in my life to share a blog post with you!  Each has influenced me both professionally and personally. My hope is that the knowledge, kindness, creativity, and compassion they have shared with me will reflect through their post in a way that YOU will be encouraged, entertained, challenged and strengthened to continue to strive for excellence as a professional and as a person.

Have you ever noticed that the nature of the ocean, as it ebbs and flows, manages to maintain a harmonious balance?

When we started preparing for this summer’s music camp, we thought the “Under the Sea” theme would hold a wealth of opportunities to share fun songs, enriching art, and groovy dances with the participants. All of that happened and more, but as I was challenged to think of some of the clinical implications for the folks attending, I was also looking at the bigger picture of what this experience would mean for me.

As colleagues and dear friends, Bonnie and I enjoy sharing conversations and encouragements about our recent accomplishments and challenges.  Recently, many of our conversations have centered around the ever-illusive “balance.”  I’m not sure it can be taught in school, but as I continue to settle into my career as a therapist, I am convinced it is absolutely vital for retention in our field.  We are overwhelmed with building new programs, acquiring new contracts, providing services, investing in our businesses, and navigating professional politics, that we sometimes loose sight of why we are doing what we’re doing.  And we rarely prioritize our own self-care. And I’m not just talking about getting yourself some therapy.  I’m talking about being okay with the daily grind.

The beach has always been the place I find rest.  The beauty of the ocean centers around the fact that it is ever-moving and always changing.  There is an energy and momentum there because it is never still.  There is always something happening yet it always manages to maintain a fluidity and flexibility that I would like to mirror in my clinical work.  Take a look at the life that happens Under the Sea, how exciting and vibrant!  As I learn to work with different clients and professionals, I realize that the way it works above water is not so different.  There are so many different types of unique creatures we come in contact with everyday.  Each has their own special function and we can appreciate that they were created to live in their own truth. Some are big, some are small, some are fat, some are prickly, some are aesthetically pleasing, some are stinky and have sharp teeth.  But there’s a reason they are the way they are.  And a reason I am the way I am.  And when we celebrate what we were put here for, and all work together, we can create something really beautiful!

Amanda Burchfiel MS, MT-BC received her B.M. and M.S. in Music Therapy from Radford University.  She has experience with a variety of populations including children in medical and psychiatric hospitals, women in substance abuse recovery, clients in hospice, and students in a juvenile detention center.  Every summer, she co-creates and facilitates a music, art, and movement camp for children and adults with special needs in Ohio.  Her areas of interests include the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music and the Circles of the Self psychological assessment tool. Amanda has served on the executive board of the Virginia Music Therapy Association and is committed to continuing education.