New DIRFloortime Support Services for Families and Professionals!

Hi all,

I am excited to announce NEW DIRFloortime support service programs for families and professionals!

  • Evaluations
  • Floortime sessions
  • Parent coaching
  • Training for professionals
  • Mentoring/supervision for professionals

*****All services may be provided in-person, by phone, and/or video conferencing

For families seeking to adopt a developmental model for their child or adolescent, we provide intake/consultation, evaluation and a home-based plan. For more information visit us on the web: DIR information

For professionals such as creative arts therapists, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists, teachers, nurses, medical doctors, physical therapists, and psychologists we provide training opportunities to complete a practitioner certification in DIRFloortime. For more information visit us on the web: DIR support for professionals

All programs are approved and licensed by the Interdisciplinary Council on Development and Learning




For more information or to set up a consolation please email me 

Parents: A Developmental Perspective

Hi all,

This new blog post is written by Melanie Feller, M.A., CCC-SLP. Melanie is a Speech and Language Pathologist and DIRFloortime practitioner. Her post discusses some differences between ABA and DIR via a the parent perspective. If you have have questions or would like to express suggestion or thoughts, please do so here and/or email Melanie.

Parents: A Developmental Perspective

As music therapists and as speech therapists (and as many other types of therapeutic practitioners) we frequently find ourselves meeting concerned parents. Perhaps the parent who is concerned about their child’s overall development or the parent who is worried that they don’t know how to help their child. Perhaps the parent who feels like they have no relationship with their child. Sometimes we may be the first step, when the parent has heard about the benefits of DIRFloortime, and sometimes we may be the last, when the parent decides that ABA simply isn’t working. But either way, we frequently meet a parent who shares they feel a bit (or very) overwhelmed, and they don’t really feel like they have the tools with which to support their child.

Behavioral therapy suggests leaving the parent out of the equation (and many parents will attest to this – i.e. therapy taking place behind closed doors, parental involvement eschewed) unless it is to train the parent on how to follow through on ABA principles taught in session. Following directions and using scripted words to request are frequent goals. Compliance and “fitting in” are paramount.

Therapy from a developmental perspective however suggests this behavioral focus is misplaced.

The DIRFloortime perspective is one that places great emphasis on the relationship between parent and child, with specific focus on each and every individual difference. This focus allows […]

Banishment from the Early Childhood Music Therapy Network Facebook page

Dear Colleagues and Friends,

I want to thank you for your supportive replies and private messages regarding the deletion of my posts and subsequent banishment from the Early Childhood Music Therapy Network Facebook page. Regardless of whether or not one agrees with the opinions that I have expressed there, it should be possible to engage in a reasoned and respectful scholarly debate about treatment issues of such great importance to the profession of music therapy and, more importantly, to the clients who benefit from our services. This embracing of various viewpoints is especially important within a group that was an outgrowth of efforts within the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

I am currently formulating a more formal response to this situation and I would appreciate your support when that response is made public. It is neither ethical nor collegial to use one’s official capacity to privilege certain forms of treatment over others. This is a vital issue that affects all of us, regardless of our areas of clinical work.

Thanks again,

John Carpente

Cost Effective & Impactful: Parent Perspective & Advocacy on Music Therapy

080_RebeccaCenter06-2012In our work as music therapists we advocate every day by doing what we do: engage our clients in musical experiences, educating and supervising future music therapists, engaging in research opportunities, publishing and the list goes on and on. We do it (advocacy) with every note we play, each melody we sing and every life that we help to enrich through the power of music therapy! That being said, it’s so important for us to bring the work, the stories, the tales, the sights and the MUSIC into the ears and eyes to others.

The following is a story based on my clinical experience as a music therapist that took place during a parent meeting. Parent meetings generally take place 2 times per year and involve the music therapist meeting with the client’s parent or caregiver to discuss his/her music therapy progress and process. The meeting involves a closed door meeting in which the therapist and parent discuss the child’s treatment plan while reviewing clinical goals. This process also involves the therapist displaying clinic vide of the child participating in music therapy experiences.

(This excerpt is taken from an early post regarding music therapy parent advocacy)

Vignette: Jason is a seven-year-old boy diagnosed with autism who has been participating in individual music therapy sessions for six weeks at The Rebecca Center for Music Therapy. Following Jason’s sixth assessment session, a parent meeting is scheduled to discuss the assessment findings and develop an intervention plan. During the parent meeting, the therapist, Michael, prepares a video presentation and a written assessment report. Michael begins the meeting by orienting mom and dad on the Center’s overall music therapy approach within […]

Facilitating musical interaction when clients become dysregulated in music therapy: What comes first, co-regulation or interaction?

Raging ToddlerHi all,

The question of what comes first, co-regulation or interaction was inspired by a conversation that I had with music therapy colleague regarding helping a child, who has difficulty modulating his emotions, maintain reciprocal interactions for a sustain period of time. Here’s the short of it:

This particular child, Peter, displays difficulty sustaining reciprocal interactions due to his challenges dealing with emotional modulation. Thus, his ability to co-regulate for extended periods is constricted by challenges related to modulating his emotions while interacting. Simply put, his emotional range 1-dimensional, meaning that it expresses ONLY in the extremes, i.e., 0-100. Following 10-15 circles or 4-5 measures of back and forth musical-play interaction, Peter becomes “overloaded” emotionally as well as sensorily and withdraws from the interaction in a hypo responsive manner by becoming agitated while attempting to leave the room in a very aggressive manner.

So…what to do when the child becomes emotionally “overloaded,” dysregulated and wants to leave the room? There are two sides or opinions as to possibly work with this particular child during these challenging moments. One side of the discussion suggests, “first, YOU need to regulate the child. YOU can not do anything with him until he is completely regulated and attentive. Thus, stop the play and begin to calm him down. Once he is regulated, then return musical engagement. In addition, musical-play, be very sensitive and careful not to dysregulate him. If the child does become dysregulated, the play must stop again and techniques should be focused on regulated him. This may involve placing him in his seat, or provide some type of sensory input e.g., weighted vest, brushing, etc. Again, once he is regulated […]

Music Therapy Philosophy and Definition by Kaitlin Emmert, Music Therapy Student/Intern

KaitlinHi all,

I’m happy to share a guest post authored by Kaitlin Emmert, a music therapy student/intern from the University of Evansville studying under the guidance of Dr. Kathleen Murphy.  Based on her experiences and education, Kaitlin shares her philosophy and thoughts towards defining music therapy. Thank you Kaitlin for sharing your ideas on this very important topic!

I believe music is uniquely only adequately defined through experience of music itself.  A definition in words cannot contain it, as it is a mixture of sound, silence, expression, emotion, both the physical and the non-physical.  Because of its incredible characteristics, music is able to touch all aspects of a person:  body, heart, mind, and soul.  This is why I believe it is perfect for therapy.  Music is not simply a cause for an effect or groups of sounds and words passing through time or even simply a beautiful melody.  Music, by its very nature—a complex yet simple one—benefits people in several ways at once.  Isolating a problem may lead to a risk of being blinded to the person as a whole; this is why I believe it is important to treat the entire person—body, mind, and soul—in therapy.  Music is capable of doing just that.  Whatever the goal in therapy, the music is present and can touch, and therefore benefit, all aspects of a person, from the problem and beyond.  My belief that music can be present in all things shows through in my person-centered, humanistic approach to music therapy.  I recognize the importance of being aware of and using aspects from other approaches, including cognitive, behavioral, and psychodynamic.  However, I believe a combination of these […]

Learning and Developing via Relational Musical-Play Experiences in Music Therapy

frank and cimdy4frank and cimdy4frank and cimdy4williampic-2Hi all,

This blog post includes some immediate and brief thoughts regarding the clinical rationale of back-and-forth relational music making between client and therapist. In addition, it touches on the importance of  contextualizing music therapy experiences within a relationship-based framework, as well as emphasizing  the significance of affective-based interactions.

Several moths ago I presented to a group of parents, therapists, and educators. During the talk I displayed a clinical video excerpt illustrating a continuous flow of co-active and related music making between the therapist and client. During the interaction, the client, an autistic 8 year-old boy who displays difficulty in sustaining self-regulation and with challenges in the area of sustained engagement and interaction, sits in his chair and musically participates with the therapist via social referencing and non-verbal, but tonal, vocalizations. The therapist, improvising a short melodic phrase  (playing guitar and voice) pauses the music following the 3rd beat of the phrase. The client, referencing the therapist via a glance and a bewildered look on his face, follows the musical pause by glancing in the direction of the therapist on the 4th beat of the phrase. The therapist interprets the glance as a musical response and “turns the phrase around,”pausing after the 3rd beat. The client again references the therapist with a glance, but this time offers a smile accompanied by a tonal vocalization. The therapist alters the musical phrase by increasing tempo and articulating the melody vocally in a staccato manner. The client […]

Throw-back-Sunday: Listening as a Component of Relationship in Music Therapy

Hi all,

As I begin to prepare my course material for the upcoming seamster, I came across this terrific blog post on the site authored by my friend and colleague, Dr. Nancy Jackson. It’s a terrific post that I always work into my clinical improvisation course each seamster. So…there’s no better time then the present for a  throw-back-blog post dealing with the art of listening in relationship-based music therapy. 


In mental health practicum the other week, a student asked how it is that one decides what to focus on in a session when the clients have so many different problems and limitations that need attention.  My reply to him was something like this:

“At every moment, your clients are telling you what they need. But this means that you must truly be listening. Listening doesn’t just happen with your ears, though. You also listen with your eyes, with your intuition, with your e-countertransferences, really with your whole being. You must listen deeply to what the client says, to what he doesn’t say, to what he tells you through behaviors, through affect, through interactions, and through the way he musically expresses himself and communicates. It is when you deeply listen to the client and respond to what he is telling you from moment to moment that you are truly engaged in therapy with the client.”

As an educator, I often struggle with how to teach undergraduate students about the less concrete but undoubtedly integral aspects of music therapy practice – things such as authenticity, trust, being “in the moment”, etc. Listening, […]

35 CMTE Credits: Expand your Assessment Skills within a Developmental Relationship-based Music Therapy Model

swirl-piano.jpgHi all,

Expand your Assessment Skills within a Developmental Relationship-based Music Therapy Model. The last IMCAP-ND course of 2014 is being held at Radford University on October 24th & 25th. EARLY BIRD Registration ends on SEPTEMBER 15TH!

Are you interested in learning more about assessment & treatment while working within a  Developmental Relationship-based Music Therapy Model? Here’s an opportunity to do so while earning 35 CMTE Credits! Click HERE for more information!

You will expand your knowledge on how to:

  • Create and assess musical experiences that target specific musical areas that deal with
    • A) Social-Emotional Skills
    • B) Cognitive and Perceptual Skills
    • C) Preferences, Efficiency, Arousal Levels
  • Observe, assess, and score target responses within the context of relational musical-play
  • Working in the method of Clinical Improvisation
  • Incorporate Dr. Bruscia’s clinical techniques
  • Create and write individualized goals and treatment plans
  • Communicate assessment findings to caregivers and healthcare professionals
  • Gain a deeper understanding of your musical tendencies and habitual responses as a music therapist

You will observe, play, music, interact, role play, and participate in practicing scoring and documenting actual music therapy session videos & case studies.

By registering for this course you will receive complimentry Developmental, Relationship-based Music Therapy course materials (as  well an opportunity for discounted supervision/coaching): 

  • Receive 50% off IMCAP-based reflective supervision for up to 5 supervision sessions following this course
  • A 10-pack of IMCAP-ND Rating Scale Booklets
  • IMCAP-ND Work Guide that includes:
  1. Musical resources for the music therapist
  2. Quality of Interaction rating chart
  3. Procedural work phase check list
  4. Clinical sample of IMCAP-ND rating scores (Scales I, II, & III)
  5. IMCAP-ND goal bank
  6. Clinical techniques guidelines (procedural phases and music domain areas)

The IMCAP-ND 2-day CMTE course with post-course assignments provides an opportunity to earn 35 CMTE Credits.

EARLY BIRD (thru September 15): $349

Regular Registration: $398

Click HERE to register!


1)  Here’s a […]

IMCAP-ND News for 2014: New CMTE Training Course at Radford University!

About UsAbout Usfrank and cimdy4061_RebeccaCenter06-2012Hi all,

It’s been an exciting year for regarding the development of the IMCAP-ND. Currently the IMCAP-ND is undergoing inter-rater reliability pertaining to individual items, as well as scoring the rating scale as a whole. In addition, the IMCAP-ND is featured in the current  Music Therapy Perspectives in the form of a clinical article and book review. In addition, in June 2014, the IMCAP-ND manual  became available in the form of an E-book.

In regards to training, IMCAP-ND CMTE courses continues to travel throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. The first course took place in at Howard Community College, Columbia, MD. Then, in August, Molloy College in Rockville, NY hosted a course.

The last IMCAP-ND CMTE course of 2014 will take place at Radford University, Radford, VA on October 24th & 25! A special thank you to Noel Anderson for intiating and organizing this course and to Jim Borling and Trish Winter for hosting the conference at Radford University. Registration for this course is now open.  Early Bird registration ends of September 15!

This course will provide participants with practical knowledge of administering, scoring, and interpreting IMCAP-ND evaluations. In addition, participants will learn how to formulate and write of clinical goals, treatment plans, and evaluation reports. Furthermore, an overview of the application of musical and extra-musical protocols and procedures will be discussed. Didactic and experiential learning will be used throughout the course. Clinical video excerpts will be used to illustrate concepts and procedures. In addition to […]