The XXXVth National AIEOP congress states that children have to be cured by specialized personnel with the
Therapists need to have special training that includes practical experiences in pediatrics. Furthermore, they should periodically attend workshops and schooling that allows them to be up to date with the latest developments in the sector. Therapists also ought to help family members deal with their child’s disease and if necessary, come up with alternative treatments that relive both the patient and his family. Staff members tutor and prepare the family for any critical situations that the patient may have to face. Whenever a child is dying, or about to die, family members should receive all the necessary support and assistance in order to help them deal with the situation. Furthermore, the staff should help the family prepare for the grief caused by the loss of a loved one.
(Extract from the National AIEOP Convention, Ancona Ocotber 26-28 2008)
In order to be able to live up to these expectations musical therapists that work in pediatrics require a number of characteristics.
Flexibility and Elasticity
Musical, cultural and social capabilities
An open, energetic and versatile approach to children and adolescents
Capability of monitoring and controlling their own emotions
Music therapists should have a profound and humane character that complements their theoretical and technical knowledge. This enables them to function in the most efficient way possible, while developing their very own personal philosophy of life and death, which will help them face the highly destructive forces of the disease and deal with personal disappointment and the negative emotions that come along with the possibility of premature death.
There are no precise indications as to how music therapists can approach hospital work: whether or not to work with the patient even if he has no desire to do so, whether or not to spend time with the family and to be with the patient until the very last moment. Especially in the beginning it is best to confront ones work with more experienced colleagues, who are emotionally less involved.
Finally, a music therapist has to develop a certain resilience, that allows him to deal with those negative moments and not only move on with his life, but to process these experiences and gain inner strength from them.