What is Music Therapy?
A Philosophy of Music Therapy
Reprinted from a post on DMH Music Therapy:
Kaitlin Emmert shares her philosophy and thoughts towards defining music therapy:
I believe music is uniquely only adequately defined through experience of music itself. A definition in words cannot contain it, as it is a mixture of sound, silence, expression, emotion, both the physical and the non-physical. Because of its incredible characteristics, music is able to touch all aspects of a person: body, heart, mind, and soul. This is why I believe it is perfect for therapy.
Music is not simply a cause for an effect or groups of sounds and words passing through time or even simply a beautiful melody. Music, by its very nature—a complex yet simple one—benefits people in several ways at once. Isolating a problem may lead to a risk of being blinded to the person as a whole; this is why I believe it is important to treat the entire person—body, mind, and soul—in therapy. Music is capable of doing just that. Whatever the goal in therapy, the music is present and can touch, and therefore benefit, all aspects of a person, from the problem and beyond.
My belief that music can be present in all things shows through in my person-centered, humanistic approach to music therapy. I recognize the importance of being aware of and using aspects from other approaches, including cognitive, behavioral, and psychodynamic. However, I believe a combination of these is best, keeping the truth that a person is not defined by only his behavior or thoughts or physical body but by a combination of all of these plus his spirit, at the center of therapeutic practice.
Similarly, music cannot be defined by only its volume or tonal range or type of sounds. Therefore, this fosters my humanistic viewpoint that the entirety of the phenomenon of music is most effective when treating the entirety of the human person.
Music therapy is the evidence-based practice of working with a person musically to achieve developmental, psychological, physical, emotional, or spiritual goals. The therapist and client are in a relationship with each other, united by the music. Music is not simply a tool in therapy; it is present in the relationship and in each therapy session. Music therapy is unique because it combines the physical and non-physical, uses a medium that can be creatively altered and individualized to each person, and has no limit to its potential benefits to a person’s body, mind, and soul.
Thank you for reading!
Music Therapists: What, How and Where
Music Therapists are credentialed professionals who have completed an approved music therapy program. Graduates of colleges or universities from more than 70 approved programs are eligible to take a national examination administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT), an independent, non-profit certifying agency fully accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies. After successfully completing this exam, the music therapist is issued the credential necessary for professional practice, Music Therapist-Board Certified.
Music Therapists can be found working in a variety of settings, including schools, preschools, early intervention centers, outpatient clinics, rehab facilities, group homes, day care treatment centers, mental health clinics, nursing homes, senior centers, wellness programs, medical and psychiatric hospitals, substance abuse programs, hospice and bereavement programs, correctional and forensic facilities, and private practice. Some music therapists are self-employed and may be hired on a contractual basis to provide assessment, consultation, or treatment services for children or adults.
Music Therapy and Young Children
Music therapy provides the young child with a unique variety of music experiences designed to facilitate development of communication, social/emotional, sensory motor, and/or cognitive skills. Music therapists involve children in singing, listening, moving, and playing, and work on developing the child's self-awareness, fine and gross motor skills, confidence, readiness skills, language development, coping skills and social behavior.
Music Therapy and Autism
Music Therapy and Teens
Music Therapy and Cancer Survivorship
Music Therapy and Hospice