Clinical Training Guide for the Student Music Therapist

By Farnan, Laurie A. | Music Therapy Perspectives, July 1, 2007 | Go to article overview

Clinical Training Guide for the Student Music Therapist


Farnan, Laurie A., Music Therapy Perspectives


Wheeler, B. L., Shultis, C. L., & Polen, D. W. (2005). Clinical Training Guide for the Student Music Therapist. Gilsum, NH: Barcelona. 213 pages. ISBN 1-891278-27-4. $35.00.

These experienced and knowledgeable authors state in their acknowledgments their "... hope is that the use of this book will enrich the education of future students, practicum students, and interns . . ." (p. iii). In the opinion of this reviewer, this comprehensive and well-written book will go a long way toward achieving the hopes of the authors. However, the authors could have included the supervisors of those students in their hopes as well. This book is not just a student read. This thorough text could also benefit the clinical supervisors.

From the introduction to the indexes (author and subject), the topics covered follow the therapeutic cycle of assessment, goals/objectives, planning, organizing, and implementing music therapy sessions. The introduction lays out the organized and systematic framework for the text. The authors begin by clearly defining roles and responsibilities at each of three levels of the student clinician experience: 1) observing, participating, and assisting; 2) planning and coleading; and 3) leading. At each level of student involvement, the authors support and gently challenge students to develop the necessary skills to become more outwardly focused on the client while developing sufficient inward self-awareness.

The trio of authors also begins to define techniques for improvising experiences, performing or re-creating experiences, composing experiences, and listening experiences as they guide student clinicians to find their role in music therapy sessions. Population examples are provided of children with special needs, adults with developmental disabilities, adults with psychiatric disorders, older adults with age-related needs, and people in medical settings.

In every chapter, the authors provide concrete examples to communicate the conceptual topics. Further references for each chapter are included for additional study of any area. It is apparent that great care was taken to provide the reader with additional information sources by providing these references, websites, overall bibliography, and indexes. The references throughout the text provide any student with more than enough further reading if they want to explore the topics in greater breadth and depth. Each of the 18 chapters ends with suggestions for further reading as well as workbook self-study assignments at three different levels. …

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