By Bree Beynon, MT-BC, NMT

Happy Social Media Advocacy Month!  Hopefully you have seen the hashtag #MTAdvocacy floating around on our social media.  Using hashtags is a great way to connect ideas in our social media savvy society but what does it mean?  The phrase #MTAdvocacy is pretty self-explanatory but it stands for something much bigger, especially this year and in this state.  This year our music therapy registry bill (SB204/HB571) is making it’s way through the Florida House and Senate and while we have had smooth sailing so far, we need as much support as we can get!  As with any cause, one or two people cannot make this happen.  It takes a village.  A village of dedicated and passionate individuals who want to elevate our field.

This year the AMTA (American Music Therapy Association)  and CBMT (Certification Board of Music Therapists) has come up with a Social Media Advocacy project to help music therapists identify how they can best contribute to moving our field forward.  The project is designed to help music therapists decide where they excel, asking the question, “Are you a connector, reflector or director?”.  See the definitions below.

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.

After taking a look at these definitions, here is what our staff at PBMTI had to say!

Elisa – “I’m definitely a reflector! Passionate about the cause, but assisting from the background. I take the information in, process it, and can see different points of view easily.”

Natalie – “I think I’m a Reflector too- able to see all sides, but passionate about the cause in general!”

Laura – “I have the heart of a Reflector combined with Connector advocacy skills.  As a Reflector, I love learning and gathering new information  and sharing my passion to help and edify others.  As a Connector, I enjoy introducing and interacting with folks from diverse backgrounds and perspectives, in an effort to achieve goals and life-enhancing experiences.”

Trent – “I’m an ENFP. I wonder if there is a correlation between Meyers-Briggs and personalities types and these advocacy roles. I’m mostly a Reflector and am growing in being a Connector. Yes, I’m passionate about the cause, but not to the level of going to Tallahassee, yet. I can process information and easily see different points of view easily.”

Catherine – ‘I am a Connector. I love connecting others two opportunities based on their skill set!”

Ali – “75% reflector + 25% director”

Me (Bree) – Connector all the way!  Nothing makes me happier than bringing people together under a united purpose.   I also love setting big picture goals and organizing the steps to moving forward like a Director.

Now you know our strengths and how we can contribute to #MTAdvocacy; how about you?  How will you help make 2016 an incredible year for music therapy and music therapists nationwide?  Share your story with us!