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MMT Music Therapist Feature: Amelia Ballak

Get to know Miya Music Therapy team member, Amelia Ballak!

How did you get into the music therapy field?

I grew up in a musical family, so pursuing music was something I had wanted to do. In my third year of my undergraduate degree I realized that music therapy was the perfect combination of music and health after my university, University of Toronto, opened the Music and Medicine program. I then began taking more psychology courses, researching music and neurorehabilitation, and volunteering a local hospital in the music and arts program. In hindsight, I have come to realize how music was a resource I used when I was stressed or overwhelmed, and music was a way for me to connect with my grandmother when she obtained a TBI when I was younger.

What do you love most about your work?

I love seeing how people connect with music on so many levels, whether emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Building relationships with my clients is my first priority in order to build trust and create a safe space for creating and sharing. It is hard to really say what I love most however there are two examples that come to mind.

I have seen how singing a familiar song with an adult has built trust and allowed for them to express themselves safely, both verbally and non verbally.

And I have had parents say to me that their child has not made eye contact with anyone for weeks, and then their child made eye contact with me in our first 5 minutes together when I began singing their favourite song. Those are the unique and powerful moments that firstly demonstrate the effectiveness of music therapy, and inspire me in this profession.

What populations do you work with?

Currently, I am working with children with ASD, TBI, anxiety, and learning difficulties. I also work in a variety of long term care homes with adults with varying needs and goals.

What do you enjoy about being on the MMT team?

I am so proud to be the newest member of the MMT team. Right away I could see how passionate and motivated each member is. They care so much about their work, and about their colleagues.

What is the last song you listened to?

I wanna dance with somebody, Whitney Houston :)

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