Aisling Palmer

MHA Music Therapist - Aisling Palmer portrait

Supporting others to feel connected

As Aisling watched an MHA resident sing a song word for word, with no hesitations, she felt she saw them “come back to life”.

It was her most inspirational moment as a music therapist working with people with dementia.

“The person had full theatrical hand gestures and movements to match,” says Aisling. “In their day to day life, they appeared very lost and confused and struggled to make basic conversation’.”

The here and now

Aisling trained as a classical musician, and has worked with young people with disabilities and done various community outreach concerts. She discovered she enjoyed making new music with different groups of people as it pushed her to the limits of her capabilities as a musician.

After working in different settings, Aisling became a music therapist. She likes helping people feel part of the here and now, supporting them to reconnect with memories and feel a sense of self.

“That might be seeing someone’s sense of achievement after playing the piano or a piece of music after many years of not being able to,” says Aisling. “Or sparking creativity in someone who struggles to break out of making repetitive noises and sounds.”

Finding fulfilment

Aisling says group music therapy sessions help MHA residents to feel connected to others. She finds fulfilment in knowing someone’s favourite song to help calm them down when they feel anxious during certain times of the day. Or being able to sing their favourite song with relatives who can see their loved one in a positive and creative light.

“We help promote independence by helping someone to play something themselves,” says Aisling.

Watch Aisling talk more about how she became a music therapist in this short video.

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