Why it is that modern science is so occupied with large statistical studies, and is not at all invested in the qualitative aspects of working with one person and or phenomena at a time? All of the hoopla with evidence-based practice, which I feel is extremely important for the future of the field of music therapy and health, seems, to me, to be de-emphasizing “clinical-based practice”- which I’ll informally define as a practice being informed by the process clinical of experience. How many studies how you read in which the research is more about numbers then people, and in turn, it loses sight of the core deficits of a particular diagnosis that it is claiming to treat?
To that end, I’ve just returned from giving a presentation at a prominent autism organization in NYC in which I discussed the effectiveness of integrating the DIR Model and interactive music therapy with children with ASD. I used video excerpts from sessions to illustrate the concepts and to demonstrate the social-emotional gains that each child experienced through their therapy process. The President of this particular organization, who was in tears, asks, “where’s the evidence to support this approach?” He continues to say that, “although your work is valuable and amazing, individual cases can not contribute to science. We need the evidence.” I replied with a wonderful quote by the world famous neuroscientist, V.S. Ramachandran, “I believe that individual cases have everything to contribute to science. I asked him, “Imagine I were to present a pig to a skeptical scientist, insisting it could speak English, and then waved my hand, and the pig spoke English. Would it really make sense for the skeptic to argue, ‘But that is just one pig. Show me another, and I might believe you!’ “