Student Music Therapists' Differences in Their Clinical Reflections across Practicum Levels

By Bae, Min-Jeong | Music Therapy Perspectives, January 1, 2012 | Go to article overview

Student Music Therapists' Differences in Their Clinical Reflections across Practicum Levels


Bae, Min-Jeong, Music Therapy Perspectives


ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to evaluate student music therapists' differences in their clinical reflections across three levels of clinical practicum. Participants were 23 students majoring in music therapy at a women's university in South Korea, who were enrolled in one of the three levels of music therapy practicum. The investigator analyzed the content of the 'Thoughts and Feelings' and 'Feedback' sections of the practicum report, which were completed after each practicum session and submitted by the participants. The content analysis consisted of eight investigator-developed categories regarding their clinical reflections, to include constructiveness, focus of attention, proactiveness, and specificity, for the duration of one semester for each level of practicum. Each level of practicum consisted of 6 to 9 participants and a total of 23 for the analysis. Level I was excluded from the original four levels of practicum, because it involved observation only, without actual participation in facilitating the sessions; therefore, only levels II, III, and IV were included in the study. The investigator compared the students across the three practicum levels according to the eight categories. A board-certified music therapist also independently analyzed the same content for inter-rater reliability. Results showed significant differences in the mean percentage scores across the three practicum levels in Proactiveness and Specificity. There were no significant differences in Constructiveness and Focus of Attention across the three practicum levels.

Achieving competence has been an ongoing focus of research in music therapy as it relates to supervision in music therapy education and training (Bruscia, 1986; Bruscia, et al., 1981; Crowe & Rio, 2004; Dileo, 2001; Farnan, 2001; Forinash, 2001; Croene, 2004; Jackson, 2008; Knight, 2008; Madsen & Kaiser, 1999; McClain, 2001; Murphy & Wheeler, 2005; Tanguay, 2008; Wheeler, 2002). Forinash (2001) edited the first 'Music Therapy Supervision' book to help clinicians and scholars gain knowledge in various aspects of supervision in relation to meeting the appropriate competence requirements in music therapy practice. McClain (2001) noted that competency is viewed as a continuum of development, while Farnan (2001) suggested a timeline for the attainment of competencies. In 2007, the American Music Therapy Association appointed a task force to develop competencies for the advanced level of music therapy practice, which resulted in four domains: (a) professional growth, (b) musical development, (c) personal growth and development, and (d) integrative clinical experience (AMTA, 2007).

Developing competencies at the pre-professional level, which is defined in this study as the period prior to the completion of internship, differs from that at the professional level. The focus of competence development at this preprofessional level includes developing academic and clinical competencies while identifying one's personal strengths and limitations early in training (Alley, 1978; Braswell, et al., 1980; Brookins, 1984; Decuir & Jacobs, 1990; Forinash, 2001; Furman, et al., 1992; Greenfield, 1978; Taylor, 1987). Research has recognized the importance of understanding various aspects of the student's clinical training, including technical, behavioral, ethical, multicultural, and emotional areas (Alley, 1980; Darrow, et al., 2001; Dileo, 2001; Estrella, 2001; Grant & McCarty, 1990; Madsen & Kaiser, 1999; Maranto, 1987). For example, Grant and McCarty (1990) analyzed personal and professional changes in the emotions of music therapy interns, while Madsen and Kaiser (1999) surveyed music therapy/music education majors regarding their pre-internship fears and found that students felt the most fear in the areas of "general preparation/being prepared," followed by "failure/not cut out for therapy," and "internship supervisor/placement." Knight (2008) conducted a comparative analysis of questionnaires between music therapy internship supervisors and pre-internship students, in which music therapy interns reported less need for assistance compared to supervisors in the areas of "Communicating with facility staff" and "Maintaining client confidence. …

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