Music therapy can be a profound physical, emotional and spiritual support at the end of life. This book looks at a wide variety of cases, explaining how music therapy can be used effectively. It highlights particular components of working with this group, such as creating a therapeutic relationship, helping patients to reach final goals, working within cultural contexts and dealing with difficult emotions, all within the parameters of the musical experience. It also explores the unique needs of people with disabilities or mental illness, and how to support the families of the dying. Therapeutic and philosophical insights related to the dying process are included. This will be a supportive and insightful guide for anyone working with people who are at the end of life, especially music therapists and other complementary therapists, caregivers, hospice workers and medical professionals.
Islene Runningdeer is a music therapist with the Advanced Illness Care Team at Gifford Medical Center in Randolph, Vermont. In 2001 she convinced the Director of the Central Vermont Palliative Care and Hospice Team to allow her to demonstrate the effectiveness of music therapy with a brief pilot program. The positive results were immediately seen, and she was given a position on the clinical team. Islene also has experience as a professional pianist and music teacher. She lives in Vermont.