Telehealth Practicum: Sessions with a Client Diagnosed with Stage 4 Lymphoma

I am a senior student at Pacific University in Portland, Oregon. Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, my clinical training involved Telehealth sessions this semester, telesupervised by Dr. Petra Kern. The client referred to me was a 44-years-old female diagnosed with stage four lymphoma cancer (that later became terminal) and schizoaffective disorder. After a virtual assessment, we agreed on two therapeutic goals: pain management and decreasing anxiety. The music technique I selected to address these goals was music assisted relaxation. To measure the client’s pain level, the measurement tool I used was a pain scale from one to ten.

The themes and scripts chosen for the music assisted relaxation were related to the client’s positive experiences. Examples of themes chosen are beach, forest, starry night, peaceful meadow, peaceful waves, and peaceful place. All of the relaxation scripts can be found at Inner Health Studio. The music was selected based on client preferred music and artists. The music was presented by sharing the computer audio, and volume levels were adjusted so the client could hear me over the music. Audio recordings of three music assisted relaxations can be heard here:

Sessions ended when the client transitioned to Hospice care. I continued to connect with her by sending recordings of my live cello music as she requested. I also worked with family members on a Legacy Project, adding the client’s words over the live cello recording of her favorite song. One of the most rewarding moments was when my client said, “You even have no idea how much the music therapy sessions mean to me.” I will cherish the practicum experiences with this client and will always remember her when playing her favorite song.

Samantha Thompson

Music Therapy Student, Pacific University, USA