#MTAdvocacy: A guest post from Dr. Dena Register

SM Advocacy Badge 2012_400x400


Happy 2016, Creatives!

With each new year, I find myself really REALLY looking forward to reading the perspectives MT bloggers and social media guru’s share about #MTAdvocacy. I’m sure 2016 will be no exception! I have always loved the #MTAdvocacy project, and am super excited to be taking part in it this year!

This year’s social media advocacy project is all about parts of a whole. About how we as music therapists embody connection, reflection, and direction in big or small portions, and how that contributes to the whole of music therapy in our community and on the national level. I think the national folks are asking us to really dig in and think mindfully about how we embody these characteristics, and how we use them regularly (because I guarantee it – you’re advocating for music therapy even if you don’t realize it!).

But, because we’re all about creativity here, I’d like to invite you to turn the table in a way that allows you to discover your giftedness in these areas in a way that is subtle, and in ways that allow you to grow outside of active, intentional advocacy. Maybe this looks like a subtle shift in the way you internally address your work and clientele, or maybe it’s in the way that you change how you consider your clinical energy throughout the day. No matter how this manifests for you, taking time to look in magnifies the good work you offer to your people, whoever they are.

So in the spirit of creative connection and advocacy, here’s how The Marketplace will be dishing out #MTAdvocacy, 2016 style! We’ll be talking about….
Connectors: Building bridges
Reflectors: Holding up the mirror
Directors: Consulting the compassTaking Ownership: A post on stewardship


But until then, Dr. Dena Register, our Regulatory Affairs Officer with the Certification Board for Music Therapists has offered to share her perspective! Thanks, Dena! 🙂


Each New Year brings the opportunity to reflect on all that we have accomplished and to determine what is needed in the coming year to move forward. As the Regulatory Affairs (CBMT) and Government Relations (AMTA) teams reflect on the first 10 years of the State Recognition Operational Plan, we are grateful for the number of individuals that have actively engaged in the advocacy process. We have had the incredible fortune to watch groups of diverse individuals pull together, capitalize on their strengths, and create access to services for clients and families that benefit greatly from music therapy.


One of the observations we reflect on regularly is what makes an advocacy team successful. The teams that stand out are those that have 3 different kinds of participants: Connectors, Reflectors and Directors. While this is certainly not an exhaustive list, this seems to be a “triple threat” of action-oriented personalities that are able to work in tandem and move a group forward.


Building Bridges

“Connectors” are people who are gifted at building bridges by bringing others together and recognizing complimentary skill sets in those that they know. Connectors enjoy creating opportunities for people from diverse background and experiences to meet and interact. The role of the Connector in advocacy is to maximize the human resources available to them and to increase the network for their cause by helping interested parties get to know one another and discuss common interests. It is often the Connectors who are able to establish relationships with legislators or other decision makers that develops them into incredible advocates.


Holding Up the Mirror

“Reflectors” are gifted at taking in information, experiences, and perceptions and—as the name implies—reflecting back the most salient points to those around them. Reflectors often have a knack for diffusing situations by indicating an understanding and empathy for someone else’s position. Reflectors also make great advocates because of their fierce loyalty to their cause. Their ability to see issues from multiple perspectives and then to communicate that to multiple audiences brings all sides of an issue to the foreground for discussion. Reflectors unite various individuals and guide the group to a vision that recognizes the complexity of all issues.

Consulting the Compass

“Directors” are the ones who are able to see the big picture of possibilities that exist beyond the current situation. They are able to assimilate the work of the “Reflectors” and the “Connectors” and navigate a course of next steps based on that information. Directors also gather additional relevant information as they move forward and constantly attend to what course corrections are necessary to get to their end goal. Those who are most successful in this role demonstrate flexibility in their thinking and actions, which allows them to accommodate to various situations that are presented and that often change without prior notice. Directors take a broad view of an issue, projecting out beyond it’s current status or challenge and using an ideal vision or end goal to guide the day-to-day steps necessary to get there.

So how about you? Are you a Connector, Reflector, or Director? Or maybe there is another description you would use? We would like to hear from you about other characteristics or personalities that you find “key” in advocacy.

Dena Register, PhD, MT-BC
Certification Board for Music Therapists
Regulatory Affairs Advisor


Until next time…. Thanks again, to all of you, for all of the good, amazing, creative work you do!

Yours in creativity,

Steward, The Music Therapy Marketplace