Employee Spotlight: Fredrica Dooley-Brown, Music Therapist

Fredrica Dooley-Brown is a music therapist at Grafton. She’s been with the organization for seven years and spearheaded the music therapy program at the Winchester campus. Learn more about Fredrica in the following video and Q&A.

Why did you want to work in behavioral healthcare?

I wanted to work in behavioral healthcare because I think there’s such an ability for change and growth. For the clients we work with, if we just give them the opportunity, they will really shine and show us everything they’ve got.

Early in my life, I had the opportunity to be a mentor for different students around my age with developmental disabilities. It was a really awesome experience connecting with them. I’ve always wanted to help people and I’ve always been really into music. My mother majored in music and early childhood development, and she actually found music therapy for me.

When I see our clients fully engaged in music therapy – seeing their faces light up, seeing them interact with their peers in a way they’ve never done before – it brings such a warmth to my heart.

Can you describe the music therapy program at Grafton Winchester?

We have group and individual music therapy sessions, a choir and guitar squad, and even a mobile recording studio where students have recorded songs. During our therapy sessions, we work on different behavioral, social, and academic goals. We also work on developing coping skills through music.

What is your background? What type of training have you received?

I earned my bachelors in music therapy from Shenandoah Conservatory, which involved a ton of psychology and music training. I ended up going back for my masters in music therapy, and I had the opportunity to do my thesis research with Grafton’s clients at the Berryville campus. I learned a lot from working with them.

What makes Grafton’s approach person-centered?

Each client so different. It’s a cool experience being able to connect and tailor my interventions to support their unique needs. That’s one of the awesome things about Grafton. We really are individually focused. We tailor treatments to our clients and it’s successful.

What makes Grafton a special place to work?

As a music therapist and as a clinician, I have always been supported in any adventure or endeavor that I’ve wanted to do. When I first started, I wanted to create a space where parents could come and see their students on stage and build a connection. I knew they were doing shows at the Berryville campus, so I suggested we do it in Winchester, too. Everyone got on board with the idea, and now we put on shows twice a year. To see the students shine on stage is really cool.

Grafton has been a great place to work, and I’m so thankful to have an opportunity for growth and development, as a clinician and as a person.

Do you have a favorite story from your time at Grafton?

I had a client who hadn’t seen his mother in person for a while, and she came to watch one of our shows. He walked in and went up on stage to sing his solo. When he got to the mic, he spotted his mom in the audience and said, “Oh! Hi, Mommy!” He was just waving and smiling. It was an amazing moment, because he got to sing a solo for his entire family, and they were laughing and interacting and filming him. It was really cool.