Who are Music Therapists?

If you are arriving at Music Therapy Kids, chances are good that you are interested in learning more about music therapy and possibly seeking music therapy treatment for your child or as part of your facility’s services.  The following article will help you de-mystify music therapy and recognize the qualities of a professional music therapist!

WHO is a Music Therapist?

Music therapists are professionals qualified by board certification, specific educational requirements and clinical experience. Professionals must participate in continuing education and are accountable to ethical codes in place by their certifying board.

Music therapy is an evidence-based practice available to the public and is client-centered. Music therapists acknowledge that other professionals use music within their scope of practice and that music therapists may make referrals for collaborating therapies in order to best support client care.

WHAT Does a Music Therapist Do?

Music therapy is a practice available for all ages and levels of ability. Music therapists develop individualized treatment plans with goals and objectives specific to client needs. Interventions might consist of instrument playing, singing, song writing, improvisation, music listening, lyric analysis and others. Music therapy may address needs in medical, mental health, rehabilitative, and educational settings to name a few.

HOW Can A Person Receive Music Therapy Services?

Music therapy services are made available through referrals from medical, educational, developmental or mental health professionals, as well as from family members and caregivers. Once a referral is made, a music therapist conducts an assessment to determine the needs of the client. If it is determined the client benefits from music therapy, the music therapist develops a treatment plan and implements therapy according to client needs. In specialized settings, music therapists may work on an interdisciplinary team with other medical or educational professionals.

Music Therapists are trained to observe client responses and any potential harm that musical, verbal or physical interactions might cause the client. All safety precautions are to be maintained in the therapeutic environment.

WHO Oversees Music Therapists?

The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) oversee each individual’s professional credentials. AMTA seeks to bolster education, clinical practice, and research. CBMT seeks to maintain standards of practice by ensuring that music therapists continue their education and adhere to ethical codes.

Educational and Clinical Requirements

A music therapist must have completed a bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) from a program approved by AMTA. Each music therapist must have completed a minimum of 1,200 supervised clinical hours through an approved internship site. Once the degree program and clinical internship hours have been completed, the individual may sit for the national board certification exam.

Requirements for Board Certification

An individual receives the MT-BC credential upon passing the board certification exam for music therapists. Once awarded the credential, the music therapist must complete continuing education hours and adhere to codes of practice to renew certification every five years.

CBMT adheres to the standards put forth by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

**All information summarized from the 2015 Scope of Music Therapy Practice. Available online at http://www.musictherapy.org/about/scope_of_music_therapy_practice/.

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