Qualicare is always working with our clients, caregivers, and the public to continue learning and growing. With the world constantly changing, it is important to us to keep our information up-to-date, and keep informed about new (and old) therapy options. We met and interviewed with Tessa DAchille, a music therapist in the Kitchener-Waterloo Region.

Tessa completed both her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Wilfrid Laurier University, where she wrote her research paper on music therapy with Acquired and Traumatic Brain Injury.  She is trained in Neurological Music Therapy, and is an accredited music therapist (MTA and MT-BC)
Tessa is passionate about providing music therapy and music education in an accessible way to help promote confidence and well being in all.  She can be contacted by email at dachillemusictherapy@gmail.com.


What is Music Therapy?

“Music therapy is the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Music has nonverbal, creative, structural, and emotional qualities” – Music Therapy Association of Ontario

 “Music therapy is the use of both music and verbal interventions by trained, accredited therapists to promote better mental and physical health.

In the populations of long term care facilities and those with cognitive impairment, it helps reduce anxiety and depression, increase social interaction… It is really giving people that chance to connect socially. There can be pain reduction in palliative care, and increased acceptance of life.”


What Education is Needed for a Music Therapist?

“As an overall minimum of what a person would need to be a music therapist, they would need to have an undergrad degree in music therapy, and then be music therapy accredited. After you do all this education and an internship, you then go on to write a board-certified exam. You need to have a good knowledge of the law, ethics, and psychology knowledge.”


What Makes Music Therapy Different From Other Types Of Therapy?

“The biggest thing is its ability to work with people non-verbally. A lot of the clients I’ve had tried to go do behavioral therapy and traditional therapy… They don’t have the verbal capability. A lot of music therapists are trained on CBT, but music therapy gives a new window to help the therapists. Often people will say ‘this doesn’t feel like work’… It’s so accessible. 

Music can increase the cognition of people with dementia or with acquired brain injuries, and really show strong, functional goal changes.”


What Kinds of Growth and Changes can you Expect through Music Therapy?

“This is client-dependent. A lot of the time I’ll have clients where my main goal is to keep functioning at a constant level to stop decline. The Client will enter an assessment phase, and we would then spend 8-12 weeks improving on those goals. A collaborative approach is much more effective, especially in the case of physical wellness.”


What Types of Music Therapy can be done alone at Home?

“That is a difficult question. There is something called the Ipod Project, which is a wonderful way to deliver music to people. I think the best way to do actual music therapy at home is to have sessions with your music therapist and make it clear that you want at-home work also. This is very common. (with) 30-45 minutes a week, you’re not going to be able to see any change. Getting well is a long road and is an ongoing process.”


Where could Someone go in the Kitchener Waterloo Region for Music Therapy?

“The Circle of Music- Inter generational Choir would be extremely valuable for someone who would be isolated and wants to get into music making in a safe environment. New members can contact Sasha Judelson at 519 342 4764, or by email at circleofmusickw@gmail.com.

St Joseph’s in Guelph has an Out ‘n About Program. This is a day program for people stuck in their homes or isolated, and gets them out of their homes and into a community.  Their website can be visited Here

The last option is myself. I offer private, at home, music therapy services. I also provide music therapy in retirement homes, and for people who need more treatment or more personalized goals.”


What Kinds of Things Should a Person Consider when Choosing a Music Therapist?

“Find someone you can get along with on a personal level. It’s trusting a person. If you’re not comfortable with them, the work isn’t going to happen and there won’t be improvement. Intuition is so important in this. There is no formula.”


For the full interview, please email us at infoswon@qualicare.com.

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