Pacific Music Therapy specializes in cancer support, End of Life care including hospice, palliative care, grief & loss services, and support for healthcare workers. Pacific MT honors each individual's strengths in the moment, and each person's cultural identity and unique life story.



Cancer Support


Receiving a cancer diagnosis is a deeply difficult experience for the patient and loved ones.  Pursuing aggressive treatment also has its challenging impacts physiologically, spiritually, emotionally and socially. Research consistently demonstrates the effectiveness of music therapy with cancer patients and caregivers on mood, spirit, comfort level, family connection and, ultimately, healing outcome through  Direct Patient Care, Healing Groups, & Caregiver Support Groups.

Hospice & Palliative Care


The end of one's life can be a most vulnerable and challenging time for the dying individual, care givers and loved ones. Illness makes tremendous physiological, emotional, cognitive, behavioral, spiritual, financial and social impacts. Yet, amidst the difficulty there exist possibilities for comfort, peace, beauty and reconnection through the offerings of Direct Patient Care, Caregiver Support Groups, Legacy Projects & Consulting Services.

Grief & Loss

Whether loss is expected or sudden, losing a beloved can uproot one's world.  Moving through different places in grief is deeply challenging work, but can lead to positive transformation. Music and the arts can provide many possibilities for transformative healing by way of Group Bereavement Services, Individual and Family Grief Support, Memorials and Celebrations of Life.

Support for the Healthcare Worker

Providing care to terminally ill individuals and their families can be exhausting. Balance, self care, and team harmony are essential for well-being and preventing burnout. PMT offers supportive and educational workshops supporting Self Care, Balance, and Team Building.







I'm Marlo and my belief is that music is an energetic force that is a direct expression of one's well-being. Each individual has her/his own unique relationship and connection with music made of many layers. As a compassionate, person-centered music therapist, I seek to deeply understand people's musical connections, life stories, strengths, assess holistic functioning and creatively discover how to provide comfort during challenging times. 



I have been a board certified music therapist since 2009. I received my Bachelors of Arts in Music Performance in 2001 at the University of New Hampshire and when I craved more, I earned my Masters of Music Therapy in 2010 from Temple University. I am a certified Hospice & Palliative Care Music Therapist (HPMT), with additional trainings in Levels I and II of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). I am also a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT 200) through Yoga Alliance and focus proper alignment, self-love, gentle and restorative yoga.  Working full time in end of life care since 2009 has offered me a deep and comforting understanding of death, dying and, especially, living.

Upcoming Events


June 23th 7-9pm // Heart Rhythms Yoga

Ginseng Yoga // 2985 Beech Street, San Diego 92102


June 25th 2:30-3:30pm //  Yoga for Hospice Workers

Pilgrimage of the Heart Yoga // 3287 Adams Ave, San Diego  92116


June 26th 6:30-8:30pm //  Pow Wow Yoga 

Pow Wow Design Studio // 1185 N. Cuyamaca Street, El Cajon  92020

    Healing, heart-centered Yoga by Shawnee w/ live music by Pacific Music Therapy

    Donations benefit a local community member dealing with the devastating effects of cancer. 





March 22-26, 2018

 Pow Wow Women's Retreat

Le Haute Desert Aerie (Joshua Tree)


Music Therapy Supervision: A Dual Perspective. Western Region Music Therapy Association Conference, San Jose, CA, 2015.



From Legacy to Ethics: Hot Topics in Hospice Music Therapy. CMTE (CEU), AMTA National Conference, 2014.



Learning the Language: Strategies for success in hospice music therapy. American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) National Conference, Jacksonville, FL, 2013.



Music & the Military: Hospice music therapy with Veterans and families. VA Hospital, San Diego, 2010, 2013, 2014.



Medical Music Therapy: Theory, Practice & Research, CEU for Hospitalists. Scripps Green Hospital, San Diego, CA, 2013.



When We Only Have the Moment: The clinical use of improvisation to facilitate communication and draw out the human spirit with patients with dementia and families. Arts & QOL Conference, Philadelphia, PA, 2013.



The Use of Music to Reduce Stress and Anxiety in Patients Awaiting Liver & Kidney Transplants. Scripps Green Hospital, San Diego, CA, 2012.



Living while dying: Existential Issues in End-of-Life Music Therapy. AMTA National Conference, Atlanta, GA, 2011.


Elena was a 66-year old transgender female I worked with while she was on hospice care. During her youth, Elena had been bullied and abused because of her gender identification and sexual orientation. In the later years of her life she discovered that she could transform the pain she experienced into art and expression. Elena became a strong advocate for anti-bullying, often posting YouTube videos and internet posts related to bullying and the LGBT community. Elena’s wish was to create a message that the public would listen to. Pulling out lines and phrases from her many posts, Elena and I were able to create a song that encapsulated the message she wanted to convey.

This is her legacy, please share!



PMT has 2 internship openings in 2016! 


Mary-Ellen (Marlo) Smith, MMT, MT-BC

(619) 887-8989

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