We had the good fortune of connecting with Nikki Belshe and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nikki, what is the most important factor behind your success?
I believe that our focus on community sets us apart from other group practices. We make it a point to offer opportunities for our music therapy clients and their families to participate in concerts and parties, meet one another, and make their own connections if they choose to do so. Since we are a therapy practice, this is all on a voluntary basis and we abide by HIPAA compliance, of course. We have found that many of our clients and their families are eager to meet one another and make new friendships outside of their normal circles. In addition to giving social opportunities for our clients, we are also a team practice. As a supervisor I encourage candid conversations and regular face-to-face interaction between myself and our therapists. We value peer-supervision and regular assembly. Over the years I have seen that as we have prioritized the satisfaction of our therapists, we have grown both in team members and in our client base. It’s important to have a healthy degree of candor and transparency in the workplace.
What should our readers know about your business?
Because some of the Medicaid waivers in Texas fund music therapy, there’s quite a bit of contract work all over the state. Dozens if not hundreds of music therapists fill this need in Texas, but there is a loneliness that accompanies working in the home health setting. Many therapists drive solo from client to client, spending hours in their car each day and having no direct supervision and no coworkers. We wanted to alleviate some of the frustrations that come from being solitary. At Heart and Harmony, we try our best to foster a team environment. Our therapists have the opportunity to supervise practicum students and interns, share ideas with teammates, and meet up for song swaps and social functions. We value community and strive to offer it to both our clients and our therapists.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Some of my favorite spots in Fort Worth include Spiral Diner on Magnolia Avenue, the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens, the Trinity Trails, and Avoca Coffee. For those on the west side of town, a quick drive to Weatherford for coffee & book browsing at The Full Cup followed by lunch at Yesterdays Sandwich Shop would be a lovely way to spend a day.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Heart and Harmony Music Therapy has been fortunate enough to collaborate with Jen Sarduy, founder of Re+Birth Equity Alliance, and Stas Taylor, founder of Alliance Child & Family Solutions. Both Jen and Stas have been wonderful mentors and friends to me over the years and I have been so grateful for their support with both Heart and Harmony and with the newly founded nonprofit, Fort Worth Music Therapy Fund. Both of these women are passionate about accessibility of mental health services. They regularly make room at the table for other individuals and organizations to collaborate with them, and they truly exemplify what it means to be a leader.
Christina Childress Photography