Nancy Berard is a Music Therapist
Music therapy is a unique profession that provides a safe space for individuals to learn how to make music, communicate and interact with others without fear of judgment or confrontation. This powerful therapeutic tool has been recognized by medical professionals for centuries.
Nancy Berard was raised in a musical family and played violin in a local youth orchestra. However, her passion for music therapy blossomed when she studied to become a licensed special education teacher. Over the course of her career she has worked with children from residential treatment facilities, schools and community-based programs alike.
Her practice incorporates musical improvisation, instrument play and movement to music as part of a client-centric approach. She believes that music has the ability to connect people on an intimate level, helping them express their feelings, resolve conflict and build emotional strength.
Many of her clients are adults with a history of mental illness who have found music therapy to be more beneficial than traditional talk therapy. In sessions, she incorporates instruments, improvised songs and movement to music for clients dealing with stress, depression or anxiety.
She is a certified Reiki energy healer, with expertise in working with clients who have suffered trauma. She has extensive training in Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Attachment Focused EMDR, as well as Bonny Method Guided Imagery and Music therapy.
Annamarie uses music and physical exercise to treat patients in the hospital. In her Power Hour class, which also includes physical therapy and occupational therapy interventions, she helps retrain patients’ muscles and nerves for recovery and reintegration into society. Individually, Annamarie provides one-on-one coaching as they work toward recovery and reintegration into society.
When asked her favorite part of her job, she says: “I get to witness the transformations in my patients’ physical and psychological condition.” For instance, someone who has been hospitalized for some time and is not functioning optimally can benefit from singing a simple melody; its soothing tones help to sync up their brain rhythms with it.”
Music therapy has an especially valuable role in hospice and palliative care settings, where it helps create a supportive atmosphere that caters to people’s emotional, social and spiritual needs. At these difficult times for individuals and their families, music therapy can provide much-needed comfort.
Music can have a profound effect on patients as they navigate illness and healing. Some find composition of songs or writing them to be especially therapeutic, while others have found comfort in listening to favorite tunes while receiving medical care.
Some patients find music therapeutic, relieving pain and anxiety while helping others relax or even fall asleep. For others, the emotional support provided by a song can be an anchor that allows them to communicate with loved ones in ways they might not otherwise.