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Approach & Philosophy

Developmental Relationship-based Music Therapy (DRMT) is an innovative and practical approach that is based on child-led musical-play to foster regulation, engagement, reciprocity, and communication. Informed by the DIRFloortime Model and Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy,  DRMT applies established evidence-based intervention strategies to provide children, adolescents, and adults with relational musical-play experiences to foster fundamental core social emotional milestones that are necessary for higher levels of thinking. DRMT considers each participants individual-differences and developmental level while focusing on expanding their ability to engage, relate, communicate, and think in musical-play. The essence of our model is aimed at providing musical-play experiences that respect all differences in order to mobilize affect and maximize back-and-forth reciprocal interactions.

Musical Goals within the Context of Social-Emotional Development

Because we work within the social dimensions of music in an interactive manner,  goals  are purely music-centered and are realized through the social-emotional experience of musical-play. While considering each participants strengths and challenges from a developmental perspective, musical goal areas pertain to musical: attention, affect, engagement, adaption, and interrelatedness. Click here to learn more about  music therapy goals.

Evaluation & Assessment: IMCAP-ND

The Individual Music-Centered Assessment Profile for Neurodevelopmental Disorders (IMCAP-ND) is a criterion-referenced assessment of musical interaction, communication, cognition and perception, and responsiveness in musical-play for individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders. The IMCAP-ND can be used to evaluate clients at various developmental levels and chronological ages from children to adults.

Created and developed by Dr. John Carpente, administering the IMCAP-ND requires the therapist to improvise music experiences based on the client’s interests and musical lead that foster interaction while targeting specific musical responses that are relevant to neurodevelopmental disorders. The IMCAP-ND examines musical-emotional abilities, musical cognition and perception skills, as well as musical responsiveness that deals with preferences, perceptual efficiency, and self-regulation in musical-play. To learn more about the IMCAP-ND click here.

Interactive Musical-Play 

Musical-Play is at the heart of our approach. It is used to engage each participant in a back-and-forth flow of musical dialogue, fostering musical reciprocity and communication. Various instruments which require no prior skill or experience are used by the child while the therapist improvises music on the piano or guitar that engages, matches, supports, and enhances the child’s playing in order to foster musical relatedness and communication. Together, the therapist and child develop various musical themes based on the child’s musical responses and reactions to the therapists’ music. The musical themes may be brought back into following sessions to be co-developed. Clinical goals, developed by the therapist and parents, are embedded within the musical themes and  phrases in order to foster social-emotional development. The approach is unique in its ability to tap into the musical intelligence of the of the child, an area that is rarely tapped in traditional education and therapies.

DMH provides high quality music therapy and DIRFloortime services for the Long Island and Metropolitan New York areas