WhoWeServeThe powerful effect of music has been observed since centuries ago. In the United States, music therapy had been frequently used for war veterans after the World War II with physical and mental rehabilitations (Davis, Gfeller, & Thaut, 2008).  Since then, a variety of ways music therapy benefits has been recognized.  To summarize, here is the definition of music therapy by the  American Music Therapy Association (AMTA, 2011) :

Music Therapy Defined

“Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals.  After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music.  Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients’ abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives.  Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words.  Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people’s motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings.”

We answer to frequently asked questions about music therapy. Click here to contact us if you have more questions!

Q. What is the music therapy treatment process like?

A. Each music therapy treatment process will be individualized according to your needs. A treatment process is structured based on the following multi-step structure:

1. Referrals:

Referrals can take place in any of the following ways: coming from physicians, psychologists, counselors, allied therapy professionals (e.g. physical therapist, occupational therapist, speech therapist), teachers, or yourself/your family members. Once we receive a referral, we will schedule an assessment session for discovering how you can benefit from music therapy.

2. Assessment

After receiving a referral, an assessment will be scheduled to identify the following for developing treatment goals:

– Clients’ strengths and needs in the areas including motor, sensory, cognitive, speech/communication, psychological, social, academic as well as musical (preference, skills, and response to music).

– An assessment session will include interviewing clients and/or family members (if applicable), referring to assessments administered by other healthcare professionals, providing clients tasks designed with musical interventions in the above areas, and recording how well the clients responded to those tasks.

Based on the data gathered from the above, treatment goals, session frequency, treatment period, and length of sessions will be determined.

3. Treatment

A treatment plan will be designed upon the completion of the initial assessment. It will consist of a variety of music-based interventions to address clients’ goals. These are some examples of music-based interventions that are used during treatment sessions:

Singing, Playing Instruments, Music and Movement, Songwriting, Lyric Analysis, and Improvisation.

As treatment sessions proceed and goals being met, music therapists will work toward fading out the music part of therapeutic exercises to assist clients with generalizing the learned skills. This provides clients opportunities to practice learned skills in their (non-music) environment.

4. Evaluation

Evaluation will take place any time goals are being met. Music therapists will identify clients’ progress and continued needs from the collected data during each treatment session. At the end of the treatment period the entire treatment process will be reviewed to update goals and objectives.

Q. Who are Music Therapists? How are they trained to become music therapists?

A. Board-certified music therapists (MT-BC) had obtained a bachelor’s degree or higher in music therapy through accredited university programs approved by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) including six (6) months of clinical internship. Upon the completion of their clinical internship training, music therapist candidates will sit for a national board certification exam administered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT). After passing the exam, music therapists will obtain the credential of Music Therapist Board-Certified (MT-BC). MT-BCs will be required to complete 100 hours of continuing eduction every five year for maintaining his/her credential.

Q. Do I need to know how to play instruments or be a singer prior to receiving music therapy treatment?

A. No! If you enjoy music, it only matters! Music therapists design treatment sessions with music interventions that involve (but not limited to) playing instruments, singing songs, actively listening to the music, or even composing songs. All of these music therapy experiences are for you to work on reaching your goals in a structured and enjoyable therapy environment.

Q. How long is a music therapy treatment?

A. The length of a session can range from 30 minutes to 60 minutes. Factors such as activity tolerance, age, and types of goals are taken into consideration when determining session length.

Q. Do you collaborate with allied therapy professionals such as physical therapists, occupational therapists, and speech therapists?

A. Yes! Puget Sound Music Therapy highly values interdisciplinary treatment approach and would love to collaborate with allied therapy professionals for optimizing your therapy experiences. Contact us if you would like us to work with allied therapy professionals in your treatment team.


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