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Music Therapy at NW Works

NW Works is proud to offer music therapy sessions to adults with disabilities who participate in our in-house Group Day Support program and employment opportunities. Program participants can choose to attend 45-minute music therapy sessions as often as two times per week or as little as once every other week. Sessions involve playing a variety of instruments, singing, stretching, dancing, and deep breathing. This allows individuals to engage in a variety of music-based activities based on their preferences and skills. During these sessions, individuals who are participating have the opportunity to engage both as group members and as individuals to develop collaboration skills and independence.

Benefits of Music Therapy

Music therapy is an evidence-based treatment that aims to positively impact the participant in the areas of attention, emotion, cognition, behavior, and communication. Music therapy has been shown to reduce anxiety and stress, reduce symptoms of depression and other psychological disorders, and improve self-expression and communication.

Within NW Works’ Music Therapy program, individuals have the following goals:

  1. To increase positive peer social interactions among group participants
  2. To increase emotional self-awareness and expression
  3. To increase autonomy (including but not limited to expressing personal preference, making choices, and demonstrating personal drive and initiative)

Our licensed music therapist, Allison Terrell, tracks these goals and provides progress reports to our Director of Therapeutic Programs to ensure all participating individuals are having positive therapeutic outcomes.

Meet Our Music Therapist

Allison Terrell, MMT, MT-BC, received her Bachelor of Music Therapy and Master of Music Therapy from Shenandoah University, completing her internship at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Image of Allison Terrell. Allison is a young caucasian woman with blue eyes and brown shoulder length hair. She is smiling at the viewer.

During her time in the master’s program, Terrell served as the North American Student Delegate for the World Federation of Music Therapy. Terrell has since worked in private music therapy practices with children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of abilities and challenges and in Inova Fair Oaks Hospital where she helped to establish and expand the music therapy program. Terrell has supervised and trained music therapy students and in private practice and medical settings locally and in Jamaica through the Jamaica Field Service Project. She has also collaborated with occupational therapy faculty to develop an interdisciplinary fieldwork experience for occupational and music therapy students, in which they work with children in the Winchester community in telehealth and in-person formats. Terrell’s music therapy research on identity formation in adolescents has been published in the peer-reviewed music therapy journal,  Music Therapy Perspectives (https://doi.org/10.1093/mtp/miz008). In 2021 she worked on a community music therapy research project, investigating the impacts of therapeutic songwriting on adults experiencing homelessness and the surrounding community (Newspaper article: Confronting homelessness through song). Through her private music therapy practice, Attune Music Therapy, Allison provides music therapy services to individuals, groups, and families in Winchester and the surrounding communities. She most recently started a medical music therapy program at Winchester Medical Center with a focus on oncology, neurorehabilitation, and palliative care. 

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