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What Is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy History: Music Therapy as an established health field began after WWI and WWII when traveling musicians would play for veterans suffering both psychological and physical effects of war. In 1944 Michigan State University was the premier educational institute to offer a degree in music therapy. In the early 1950’s the National Association for Music Therapy (NAMT) was founded and the American Association for Music Therapy (AAMT) was founded in 1971. These two associations merged in 1998 to become The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)

Defining Music Therapy: 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. (AMTA 2017)

What Do Music Therapists Do?: Music therapists are responsible for assessing the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual needs of each client. Through such an assessment they are able to design and implement a customized treatment plan to target clinical, non-musical, individualized treatment goals and objectives.

Requirements To Become a Music Therapist: Music therapists have completed an approved undergraduate or graduate degree in music therapy and have completed a six-month clinical internship at an approved facility. After completing their coursework and internship, they are eligible to sit for the national board certification exam administered by CBMT. Persons passing the exam hold the MT-BC credential (music therapist board-certified).

Who Can Benefit From Music Therapy?  Music therapy is an effective treatment modality for children and adults of all ages. You can find music therapists working with the mentally retarded and developmentally delayed (MR/DD), the terminally ill, those suffering chronic pain, psychiatric patients and trauma survivors, older adults and those with Alzheimer’s and other dementias, general medical patients and many more.


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