Magazine article The Canadian Music Educator

Music Therapy Implications: The College of Registered Pyschotherapists of Ontario

Magazine article The Canadian Music Educator

Music Therapy Implications: The College of Registered Pyschotherapists of Ontario

Article excerpt


For many years music therapists have been striving for professional regulation by a provincial or national organizing body; not only in Canada, but worldwide. While music therapists in Canada are certified through the Canadian Association for Music Therapy (CAMT), there has to date been no official recognition of the discipline by the Canadian or provincial governments. Formal recognition would enable the profession to grow and expand in places where music therapy has already proven to have a significant impact, such as in work with persons diagnosed with a variety of health issues, including: cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's; as well as children diagnosed with autism, learning disorders or developmental delays to name a few. Regulation of the profession would assist organizations in potentially creating more jobs for music therapists; as well as possibly helping to develop opportunities for persons to have music therapy funded through healthcare insurance. Throughout Canada the process of regulating music therapy is developing at different speeds in the various provinces and territories; and at present Ontario is the leader. Many music therapists have been practicing psychotherapy in their clinical music therapy work for a number of years. If they reside in Ontario and want to continue to practice psychotherapy as part of their music therapy services they need to become members of the CRPO in addition to maintaining their certification with the CAMT.

In this piece you will find information on the difference between music psychotherapy and music therapy, the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario, and implications for music therapy training programs.

Music Psychotherapy versus Music Therapy

Music therapy as a profession is defined from a variety of professional organizations including the: CAMT, American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), and, World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) (Aigen, 2014). Certifying associations of the music therapy profession like the CAMT and the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) have developed a comprehensive description, domains, scope of practice (CBMT, 2016) and ethical practice encompassing the work of music therapy (CAMT, 1999). As defined by Bruscia (1998), music therapy is a systematic process of intervention wherein the therapist helps the client to promote health, using music experiences and the relationships that develop through them as dynamic forces of change. In the core of both music therapy and music psychotherapy are the use of music interventions to accomplish individualized therapeutic goals. Within the client and therapist relationship, both music therapy and music psychotherapy use music as the main therapeutic tool for movement towards change. There are multiple models and approaches of music therapy influencing the way therapists practice music therapy which include: improvisational, psychodynamic, behavioural, and neurologic models etcetera. So it is not always 100% clear when the work of a music therapist crosses over and also includes psychotherapy practices.

Psychotherapy is defined as the use of techniques of psychology or psychiatry or both to treat mental and emotional disorders. The term includes psychoanalysis, as well as other forms of psychological therapy (Trefil, Kett, & Hirsch, 2002). In music-centered psychotherapy, the therapeutic issue is accessed, worked through, and resolved through creating or listening to music. Ver- bal discourse is used to guide interpret, or enhance the music experience and its relevance to the client and the therapeutic process (Bruscia, 1998). In the heart of music psychotherapy the relationship between the client and therapist facilitates therapeutic goals that can include: emotional expression, changes in interpersonal issues, self-awareness, and/or self-expression; through the use of both verbal discourse and through an experiential means of personal exploration within musical interventions. …

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