Our Music Therapists
Who Are Music Therapists?
Our objectives are to determine and utilize music therapy approaches that effectively aid in the restoration, maintenance, and improvement in mental and physical health. To that end, we believe in the dignity and worth of every person. We promote the use of music in therapy, establish and maintain high standards in public service, and require of ourselves the utmost in ethical conduct.
Music therapists are members of an interdisciplinary team of healthcare, education, and other professionals who work collaboratively to address the needs of clients while protecting client confidentiality and privacy. Music therapists function as independent clinicians within the context of the interdisciplinary team, supporting the treatment goals and co-treating with physicians, nurses, rehabilitative specialists, neurologists, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, counselors, behavioral health specialists, physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, audiologists, educators, clinical case managers, patients, caregivers, and more.
Music therapy-specific assessment, treatment planning, and implementation consider diagnosis and history, are performed in a manner congruent with the client's level of functioning, and address client needs across multiple domains.
Music therapists are trained to independently analyze client non-verbal, verbal, psychological, and physiological responses to music and non-music stimuli in order to be clinically effective and refrain from contra-indicated practices. The music therapist implements ongoing evaluation of client responses and adapts the intervention accordingly to protect the client from negative outcomes.
Music therapists use their knowledge, skills, training and experience to facilitate therapeutic, goal oriented music-based interactions that are meaningful and supportive to the function and health of their clients. These components of clinical practice continue to evolve with advances in basic science, translational research, and therapeutic implementation. Music therapists, therefore, participate in continued education to remain competent, know their limitations in professional practice, and recognize when it is appropriate to seek assistance, advice, or consultation, or refer the client to another therapist or professional. In addition, music therapists practice safely and ethically as defined by the AMTA Code of Ethics, AMTA Standards of Clinical Practice, CBMT Code of Professional Practice, CBMT Board Certification Domains, and other applicable state and federal laws. Both AMTA and CBMT have mechanisms by which music therapists who are in violation of safe and ethical practice are investigated.
The use of live music interventions demands that the therapist not only possess the knowledge and skills of a trained therapist, but also the unique skill set of a trained musician in order to manipulate the music therapy intervention to fit clients’ needs. Given the diversity of diagnoses with which music therapists work and the practice settings in which they work independently, clinical training and experience are necessary. Individuals attempting to provide music therapy treatment interventions without formalized music therapy training and credentials may pose risks to clients.
To protect the public from threats of harm in clinical practice, music therapists comply with safety standards and competencies such as, but not limited to:
Recognize and respond to situations in which there are clear and present dangers to a client and/or others.
Recognize the potential harm of music experiences and use them with care.
Recognize the potential harm of verbal and physical interventions during music experiences and use them with care.
Observe infection control protocols (e.g., universal precautions, disinfecting instruments).
Recognize the client populations and health conditions for which music experiences are contraindicated.
Comply with safety protocols with regard to transport and physical support of clients.
Board Certification Requirements
The Music Therapist – Board Certified (MT-BC) credential is granted by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) to music therapists who have demonstrated the knowledge, skills, and abilities for competence in the current practice of music therapy. The purpose of board certification in music therapy is to provide an objective national standard that can be used as a measure of professionalism and competence by interested agencies, groups, and individuals. The MT-BC credential may also be required to meet state laws and regulations. Any person representing him or herself as a board certified music therapist must hold the MT-BC credential awarded by CBMT, an independent, nonprofit corporation fully accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).
The board certified music therapist credential, MT-BC, is awarded by the CBMT to an individual upon successful completion of an academic and clinical training program approved by the American Music Therapy Association (or an international equivalent) and successful completion of an objective written examination demonstrating current competency in the profession of music therapy. The CBMT administers this examination, which is based on a nationwide music therapy practice analysis that is reviewed and updated every five years to reflect current clinical practice. Both the practice analysis and the examination are psychometrically sound and developed using guidelines issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the American Psychological Association’s standards for test validation.
Once board certified, a music therapist must adhere to the CBMT Code of Professional Practice and recertify every five years through either a program of continuing education or re-examination.