Client Success Stories

Client: Kevin and Patricia Heenan

Patricia Heenan's book, Kevin and Me: Tourette Syndrome and the Magic Power of Music Therapy, is a heartfelt memoir of a single mother who struggled with her son's Tourette syndrome and discovered music therapy as a magical influence on him and their relationship. Her courageous story covers Kevin's life from age five when his TS tics first appeared to his late twenties when he transformed from a violent man into a peaceful person. Her story conveys a powerful healing process for her as the mother of a Touretter, in that she expresses the full gamut of emotions from fear to despair to hope to joy.

The author relates her personal account of music therapy with Kevin, a person with Tourette syndrome, developmental and learning disabilities, ADHD, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Kevin and Me will inspire parents, psychologists, teachers, and medical professionals to explore music therapy as a medium for reaching children and adults with Tourette syndrome. Music therapy services are available in private centers and school districts through special education.

Visit her website at or order her book via e-mail:

Client: Carlos Mixson

Man overcomes brain injury to complete race
By Marty Toohey
American-Statesman Staff

As the gun sounded Sunday afternoon, the milling crowd of runners began snaking down Congress Avenue. Carlos Mixson broke into a light jog, his right leg a little unsteady but his stride strong. Every precaution had been taken to ensure that Mixson would navigate the 6.2-mile course safely. But his mother and his therapist still worried. He might take a wrong turn or overheat. There was no guarantee he could do this. But they saw every step as a defiance of guarantees. After all, it was only a mile from the starting line, almost four years earlier, where Mixson had died. 

See full story, click here.

Client: Katie Burns

Tuning Up Wounded Minds
Hope Young Uses Music Therapy to Help Heal Brain Injuries
By Katie Burns, AustinWoman Magazine

It was March 29th, and 39 of Hope Young’s clients from The Center for Music Therapy were walking toward The Statesman Capitol 10,000 finish line. Many runners were passing them up, but for CFMT folks, that was okay. It was their ability to participate that led them to raise their arms and shout triumphantly as they crossed the finish line. All Young’s clients have brain injuries – Parkinson’s disease, strokes, aneurisms or damage from accidents. Some were told by their doctors they may never walk or talk again. The doctors hadn’t reckoned with Hope Young. Young, CFMT founder and president, has become well-known through news articles, TV interviews and her own presentations to various organizations. But perhaps her highest praise has come from her clients.

See full story, click here.

Client: Chris Stepan

CHRIS STEPAN - BEFORE THE ACCIDENT At the age of 17, Chris Stepan was a popular, good-looking athlete who loved playing high school football and spending time with his friends. Chris was the jovial type of young man who exhibited a tough physique but really had a very genuine caring and loving heart for others.

APRIL 13, 1996 - THE ACCIDENT The phone call that we received about the car accident was the Real Nightmare that every parent thinks about on a Saturday night when they are waiting up for their child to get home. Chris missed a sharp turn in the road and ended up hitting a rock embankment on the side of the road. When we were told Chris had been in a car accident we calmly asked, "Is he OK?" and the voice on the other end of the phone simply said, "Well, he has a pulse!"

CHRIS STEPAN - AFTER THE ACCIDENT Chris had sustained a very severe traumatic brain injury. The doctors were concerned when a week later he had still not awakened from his coma. We were then told that he had a diffuse axonal injury to his brain and that there was no surgery that could be done to "fix" the axons that had been stretched and/or severed that connect the brain to the rest of the body. In layman's terms, he explained that the brain was not able to send appropriate signals to his body. After about 30 days, Chris began to barely open his eyes. Eating, talking and walking didn't happen until many months after the accident. Any little thing that Chris has been able to relearn or accomplish has been celebrated with joy and renewed happiness! Chris has had many therapists, doctors, counselors, etc., and their remarks have been that he is a fighter and a hard worker.

THE POSITIVE IMPACT OF MUSIC THERAPY We wanted to try music therapy as an alternative way to help his speech, gait, tremor and behavioral problems. After being in traditional therapy for about five years, the music therapy has been a "breath of fresh air" for Chris. He looks forward to each therapy session and seems to be making some remarkable changes in his speech, gait and behavior. Hope Young who is the founder of the Center for Music Therapy in Austin, Texas just reverberates with a passion and enthusiasm for what music therapy can do for people of all ages. She and her team work with Chris and are abounding with energy, interest and expertise in helping our son with his problems. They are professionals who understand the impact of the injury to his brain and are using music as a re-entrainment for the brain to learn new ways of dealing with these disabilities. The music therapy sessions are helping to make his voice stronger and louder as they sing songs and do breath support exercises with music. His walking has become more rhythmic and faster as he practices walking to the rhythm of music. His undesirable behavior has also been able to be addressed through the music therapy sessions. Music seems to connect him with the therapist in ways that traditional therapy has not been able to reach him emotionally. We are very pleased with the work that they have done with Chris.


Patricia Heenan’s remarkable book shows how much music therapy benefits her son with Tourette syndrome, ADHD, obsessive compulsive disorder, and learning disabilities. This is one treatment approach that is clearly free of ‘side effects.
— David E. Comings, M.D. ADHD Clinic, City of Hope National Medical Center, Duarte, California

[Music therapy] has been a breath of fresh air...
— Chris Stepan