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Forrest General and William Carey join forces to offer Music Therapy Services

HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Forrest General and William Carey University have a partnership which provides weekly music therapy sessions to oncology and pediatric patients.

“We had been investigating the possibility of bringing a Music Therapy Program to Forrest General Hospital for over a year. We were extremely excited to learn that William Carey University offered this program and so we began building a relationship with Mr. Jim Pierce, assistant professor of music therapy and his students. We’ve been piloting a program for the past several months on our Pediatric and Oncology Units and the feedback we’ve received from patients and families has been wonderful,” said Vicky Buxton, director of volunteer and guest services at Forrest General.

The partnership is mutually beneficial to William Carey and Forrest General. The program gives students vital practicum experience while allowing Forrest General to expand its services and enhance patient care.

“The relationship between William Carey University and Forrest General Hospital is the only music therapy program with a medical setting practicum experience in the state of Mississippi. The mutually beneficial arrangement is a vital component to our cutting edge music therapy program and we have had the pleasure of reaching many patients. Music therapy services uses clinical and evidenced based music therapy techniques to achieve nonmusical goals that have an immediate positive impact on daily lives of the patients. It is great to be working with such outstanding, caring doctors and staff found at Forrest General Hospital,” said Jim Pierce, assistant professor of music therapy at William Carey University.

What Is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is a clinical and evidence-based health profession that uses music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional to address physical, emotional, cognitive and/or social needs. “We have received such positive responses from our patients regarding the Music Therapy program. Music Therapy interventions can be designed to assist in managing stress, alleviating pain, expressing feelings, improving communication and promoting wellness and physical rehabilitation. We are grateful that William Carey has partnered with us to provide this wonderful addition to the Forrest General patient experience and support our ‘We Care’ philosophy,” said Millie Swan, chief of marketing and medical staff services.

How is a Typical Music Therapy Session Beneficial?

  • Active music engagement, incorporating improvisation, can support the patient by offering control, validating feelings and processing of the experience.

  • Avoidance coping style, music has been used as a successful distraction technique.

  • Children in critical care may address general sensory stimulation, environmental awareness, or emotional coping issues.

Elnora Wiggins, a Forrest General patient who is compassionate about Music Therapy Services said, “I think it is very soothing, inspirational and it gives hope. I think others will get encouragement and a sense of peace from it. It is definitely something to look forward to!”

For more information about Music Therapy Services call FGH On-Call at 1-800-844-4445 or visit



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