The Music Therapy Scope of Practice
Music therapy is a clinical profession that utilizes music therapeutically within therapeutic relationships to promote development, health and well-being. It takes an integrated and multidisciplinary approach which includes assessment, treatment planning, intervention and evaluation that has been successfully utilized in various healthcare and educational settings.
Certified music therapists (MTAs) utilize musical interventions to meet human needs across cognitive, communicative, emotional, musical, physical, social and spiritual domains. They work in a range of healthcare and educational settings such as hospitals, psychiatric clinics, community centers, schools, rehabilitation facilities and private practices.
They assess and assess client needs according to their level of functioning, using creative techniques such as composition, songwriting, improvisation, drumming, dance and music listening in an individualized and collaborative manner that draws upon strengths, interests, abilities and goals.
Their duties include conducting client assessments, creating therapeutic processes, evaluating progress and assuring safety and conformance to regulatory and professional standards. Furthermore, they collaborate with other healthcare and education professionals in order to guarantee the highest quality of care for their clients.
Music therapists are part of an interdisciplinary team that includes physicians, nurses, rehabilitative specialists, neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, adolescent and family therapists as well as other healthcare and education professionals. Working together in concert, they strive to meet treatment objectives while safeguarding client confidentiality.
These therapists must abide by the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) Standards of Clinical Practice and CBMT Board Certification Domains, which outline their scope of practice. They have a professional responsibility as well as continuing education to remain competent, effective, and ethical in their profession.
A common source of harm comes from therapist-centric qualities, in which they fail to consider their own biases, personal motivations or other non-musical elements that might create a conflict of interest. This could be due to inadequate clinical training or practicing outside their scope of practice; or other factors which make them less aware of decisions or actions which might compromise client safety and wellbeing.
However, it’s essential to remember that these therapist-centric qualities can be difficult to recognize or control. Even when acting in the best interests of their client, harm may still ensue if these issues go unchecked.
This paper is the result of a Practice Analysis Study that assessed current practice and identified domains of music therapy practice in the United States. It was developed and approved by both the American Music Therapy Association and Certification Board for Music Therapists.
Credentialed music therapists must closely monitor their clients, respond to reasonable claims of harm and make amends when necessary. In certain circumstances, they may need to consider whether or not to consult their supervisor for further reflection and investigation.