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April 14, 2011

Bridges of Indiana facility to provide therapeutic services

TERRE HAUTE — Bridges of Indiana is back where it started a decade ago, and that’s music to therapists’ ears.

The 1,400-square-foot house at 1805 S. Third St. was full of children and adult clients Wednesday afternoon, as the organization hosted an open house. Gina Soulier, therapy program manager, explained that the location was Bridges of Indiana’s first office building in Terre Haute about 10 years ago.

It now serves as the organization’s second Terre Haute location, augmenting the office at 21 N. 11th St., in addition to facilities in Evansville, Indianapolis, Vincennes and Muncie. The South Third Street location will specialize in behavioral services, music therapy and recreational therapy to a wide range of clients, she said.

Behavior therapist Elizabeth Nelson said most people have some form of behavioral issue, but therapy becomes necessary when the behavior interferes with school or work.

For “everything from inappropriate socialization to attention-seeking behavior to self-harm,” she said, the goal is usually to replace the problematic behavior with a positive one.

Music therapist Morgan May explained her specialty likewise addresses a wide range of issues using music. A board certified therapist, she obtained undergraduate degrees in psychology from DePauw University and music therapy from St. Mary-of-the-Woods College, and has worked with Bridges of Indiana since graduating last May. She’s also certified in guitar and piano therapy.

She said she fits as many as she can into sessions

Music therapy can address a wide range of issues, she said, explaining that guitar and piano work require finger dexterity and fine motor skills useful in people needing physical therapy. In people suffering traumatic brain injury, singing is also productive. Speaking and singing actually use different parts of the brain, she said, explaining that one activity can serve as therapy for the other in patients whose speech has been impacted.

The music room included a keyboard, guitar and handbells. May said she uses a wide variety of instruments to suit the patient’s need, including percussion. Songwriting and lyric discussion are also employed.

“If using a trumpet helps, I’ll use a trumpet,” she said.

Soulier said the organization serves about 100 clients throughout the Wabash Valley and that referrals are always welcome.

Brian Boyce can be reached at 812-231-4253 or brian.boyce@tribstar.com.

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