For Krystine Smith, music and the military have always been a part of life. Growing up in Virginia, Smith spent much of her time as an active member of her church’s youth choir and she could easily trace most of her family lineage back to various branches of the military. Upon graduating high school, Smith decided to carry on family tradition and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps, making her the first female Marine and military member in her family.
After four years of active duty service with the Marine Corps, it only seemed fitting to Smith that she pursue a career that would allow her to blend her passions. As an esteemed flute and piccolo instrumentalist in the Marine Corps Band in New Orleans, Smith knew that she wanted music to remain a focus of her life and decided to put her talents to use at the Phillip and Patricia Frost School of Music’s music therapy program.
As part of the music therapy program, Smith was able to intern and volunteer at the Miami VA Healthcare System within the music and recreation therapy program for veterans. Although the internship was only meant to last six months (or 1,200 clinical hours), Smith continued to provide her expertise under the guidance of board certified music therapists as a student trainee. During this time, she was able to observe the life-threatening effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and knew that her experience in music therapy could help fellow veterans in need.
While completing her board certifications in music therapy, Smith continued to work at the Miami VA Healthcare System. Firsthand, she was able to see the impact of therapy and decided to design a set of interventions to be used as part of a 12-week music therapy treatment program for the PTSD Residential Rehabilitation Program (PSTD-RRTD). Now, as fully-certified music therapist, Smith will join the Miami VA Healthcare System in a full-time position to provide inpatient and outpatient services, as well as focus on the treatments and therapies used to support those with PTSD.
As a veteran, Smith knows all too well of the difficulties surrounding the return to civilian life. Her work and continued research will aim to tailor music therapy programs that can support the needs in those who have fought for our freedoms.