Several months ago, I had the chance to sit down with Georgia Stachofsky, business owner and perinatal music therapist of A Joyful Hope. A Joyful Hope is a mental health resource in the Fort Wayne area for pregnancy and postpartum, specializing in music therapy for any kind of perinatal mood disorder.
Postpartum depression is perhaps the most well known perinatal mood disorder, followed by postpartum anxiety. New parents can also experience prenatal depression and anxiety, PTSD related to birth trauma, and others. Music therapy can be a helpful tool in addressing perinatal mood disorders, processing trauma, and simply adjusting to life with a new baby, whether one experiences a mood disorder or not.
Below is my interview with Georgia! Stay tuned for a live Facebook video from my Facebook page on May 1, 2022 at 7PM where Georgia and I will chat about creating a music playlist for labor!
What inspired you to become a music therapist? I enjoyed playing music and I enjoyed helping people. Music therapy is very versatile - if you see somewhere with a need, music therapy can help there. We work in hospitals, NICUs, prisons, homes, etc. There is a lot of depth to each facet of our field. It’s an up and coming field too, so there is a lot that is left to learn about how music therapy can help.
What kind of qualifications did you need to become a music therapist? In Indiana, you need to be board certified, hold a Bachelors in music therapy, which includes a certain number of hours of practicum experience, and a 6 month internship. In some states like NY you need a creative arts certification as well. I could work in any state with my current certification, American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).
What does a typical appointment for postpartum music therapy look like? The purpose of music therapy is to meet non-music goals using music as the source of change. So, that change is also supported by the therapist’s relationship to music, the client’s relationship to music, and their relationship together through the music they create. A typical session would be to meet any goals set out for postpartum work - anxiety relief, grief or trauma, rage or frustrations, etc. The interventions used could be anything from song writing to singing to playing instruments to music listening/ relaxation techniques. All based on the comfort level of the person. They are not expected to be a musician in any way shape or form.
What is the best part of the profession for you? I never get bored! There’s always something new with music, always something changing with my clients, and I’m really passionate about it.
What is has been the greatest challenge? The greatest challenge in my previous work with music therapy was that I didn’t have much contact with any of my coworkers. I would drive 400 miles/ week, and I was pretty isolated. It’s different when you have a camaraderie and can be surrounded by other professionals on a regular basis.
What makes music therapy so valuable for perinatal mental health? We can process so many things using our connection to music, whether that be our birth story, getting our worries out, working through rage and things that don’t have words. Interacting musically with somebody, with no expectations… you can’t yell and scream and hit things in a regular therapy session. Music provides an outlet to process those deep, bigger feelings that are harder to express in other ways. You can also feel more connected in a group setting.
What are your goals for the future? I would love to get at least 2 music therapy mom/family groups going. I would like to be able to provide services/trainings to local birthworkers, along with individual sessions.
Be sure and check out Georgia's story on her website, ajoyfulhope.com. You can contact her to set up consultations and appointments at 260-267-5618 and email@example.com. You can also follow A Joyful Hope on Facebook and Instagram for updates.