Neurologic Music Therapy Fellow
Melissa Spiess is the founder and owner of Living Spirit Therapy Services, LLC. She received her Bachelor of Arts from Lake Forest College, and music therapy equivalency degree and Master of Music in Music Therapy from Western Michigan University, where she completed her master’s thesis A Survey of Financial Aspects, Staffing, and Service Trends of Music Therapy in Hospice Programs. She worked in inpatient and home hospice, oncology, and eating disorders units at Methodist Hospital, and the Struthers Parkinson’s Center as part of her American Music Therapy Association 1,040-hour music therapy internship with Park Nicollet Health Services in Minneapolis, MN.
Melissa has worked as a board-certified music therapist since 2003. She has been a Fellow in the Academy of Neurologic Music Therapists since 2008 and has also received advanced training in hospice music therapy, work with the elderly, neurologic rehabilitation, and drumming. She is a member of the American Music Therapy Association, Music Therapy Association of Minnesota, and Academy of Neurologic Music Therapists.
Melissa has provided music therapy services throughout training and professional work with a wide variety of clientele including patients/clients in hospice, transitional care units, adult and pediatric hematology/oncology, medical/surgical units, and adult day care. She has also treated individuals with Parkinson’s disease, sensory impairments, mental disorders, eating disorders, cerebral palsy, fibromyalgia, dementia, and stroke. Melissa provided eight years of direct care for people with special needs and received several awards and scholarships during her training. Melissa provided eight years of direct care for people with developmental disabilities and emotional impairments and has worked in nursing homes in the Twin Cities. She is a member of the American Music Therapy Association, Music Therapy Association of Minnesota, and the Academy of Neurologic Music Therapists. She is the government relations representative for the Music Therapy Association of Minnesota and coordinates the Minnesota Music Therapy Business Owners group (MN MTBO).
Melissa has presented over 40 times locally and nationally on music therapy. Topics of particular interest include music therapy in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease, stroke, patients and families in hospice and palliative care, the holistic needs of the elderly, fibromyalgia, intergenerational programming, and fall prevention.
Melissa particularly enjoys working with stroke survivors, people with Parkinson’s disease, and with patients and families in hospice and palliative care. She is routinely amazed by music therapy’s ability to empower clients to improve their quality of life, and by its ability to successfully treat those who have not responded to traditional methods.