DSH - Atascadero: Internships - Music Therapy Internship Program

Contact Information:

Internship Director: Nicole Cassingham, MT-BC
Department of State Hospitals - Atascadero

ATTN: Program VII, Unit 29
Address: P.O. Box 7001, Atascadero CA 93423-7001
Phone: (805) 468-3382
Email: nicole.cassingham@dsh.ca.gov

Philosophy of The Music Therapy Program

Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program (American Music Therapy Association, 2010). DSH - Atascadero follows a Recovery model of care and, as such, music therapy interventions are strength-based and designed to build skills toward the goal of reintegration into the community. Music is also used to modulate emotions and behaviors, helping individuals manage mental illness and to avoid criminal behavior.

Music Therapy Treatment Goals

Music therapy at ASH is designed to meet various foci and goals of hospitalization including:

  • Psychiatric and Psychological

    • improving insight and expression of feelings dealing with problem areas
    • increasing concentration, attention, executive functioning, thought organization, and reality orientation through structured musical tasks
    • reducing stress/anxiety and promoting relaxation through music
    • increasing appropriate self-expression, spontaneity, and creativity
    • eliciting motivation for engaging in other treatment experiences
    • increasing knowledge of mental health symptoms, triggers, and coping skills
  • Social Skills

    • developing healthy self-esteem and promote a feeling of accomplishment via successful musical experiences
    • improving interpersonal skills, trust in others, and a positive attitude toward treatment through shared musical experiences
    • increasing understanding of emotions
  • Dangerousness and Impulsivity

    • improving impulse control through group experiences
    • increasing self-awareness of accessing and controlling emotions such as anger
    • developing capacity for problem solving
  • Substance Abuse

    • increasing self-awareness of destructive behaviors
    • assisting with healing of emotional injuries
  • Legal Needs

    • increasing court competency
    • improving understanding of various legal commitments and possible discharge avenues
  • Using Music as a Leisure Skill

    • increasing music skill development (e.g., group lessons, band groups)
    • developing appropriate leisure skills for spending free time in the hospital and community
    • increasing knowledge of accessing and participating in music events in the community

Minimum Qualifications and Expectations of Students Entering Program:

Minimum Qualifications and Expectations of Students Entering Program: Applicants must be anticipating completion of a Bachelor's Degree from an American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved institution in the area of Music Therapy. The applicant must have acquired all competency-based prerequisites for internship (including functional skills in piano, guitar, voice and percussion instruments). Applicants possessing experience with adult psychiatric patients and/or prison inmates are preferred. The applicant must be familiar with a wide variety of musical forms and styles, and be knowledgeable in structuring group sessions. The candidate must have effective written and verbal communication skills. Additionally, the applicant must be able to formulate realistic therapeutic goals and objectives. DSH - Atascadero is a maximum-security facility and, as such, maintaining strong therapeutic boundaries is a priority. Fingerprints Card/Scan and Physical Exam must be completed and cleared. Internship Details Facility Type: State-Hospital Psych-Facility Client Types: Forensic Mentally-Ill (Male) Client Ages: Young-adult, Middle-age and Older-adult Number of interns per period: One Number of Supervisors: Two Stipend: Amount variable Housing: Offered at fair market value when available Meals: Not offered Environment: Starting medium-size city Status: ACTIVE

Internship Details

  • Facility Type: State-Hospital Psych-Facility
  • Client Types: Forensic Mentally-Ill (Male)
  • Client Ages: Young-adult, Middle-age and Older-adult
  • Number of interns per period: One
  • Number of Supervisors: Two Stipend: YES Amount variable
  • Housing: Free Housing
  • Meals: Free months - January, September
  • Environment: Starting medium-size city
  • Status: ACTIVE

NOTE: All application materials MUST be received no later than FIVE MONTHS prior to the starting date of the internship.