Below are a few of the most frequently asked questions we hear. If these don't answer your questions, please let us know!
What is Music Therapy?
Music Therapy is a unique therapeutic experience that can help people of all ages and abilities achieve their highest potential. This profound tool is most commonly utilized with people with physical, emotional, educational, and communication needs, but can be beneficial for anyone. Music Therapy can assist with stress reduction, family cohesion and communication, and relaxation. It has also been found to be extremely beneficial throughout pregnancy, labor and delivery, and in post-natal family transition.
How can Expressive Arts Therapies help me?
Art is uniquely motivating for many people and encourages them to become actively involved in life experiences. Expressive arts therapists use this motivation to help clients reach non-musical goals.
At HeART Journeys, each person is approached as the unique individual they are, basing all interventions and experiences on their specific strengths and needs. The therapist and client work together throughout the process to establish a treatment plan, uncovering the goals that are most important to the client and finding creative solutions to those issues.
At HeART Journeys, we treat our clients as a vital member of the treatment team. We wouldn't be here if it weren't for you.
Do I need prior training in music or art to see an Expressive Arts Therapist?
Absolutely not! The most important thing to understand is that no previous training is necessary for you to benefit from our services.
First, you and the therapist will work together to uncover what goals you want or need to work on. Then, the therapist will offer suggestions on a treatment plan, allowing you to choose what you are most comfortable with. This treatment plan may change from session to session depending on how you are feeling each day. Each treatment plan utilizes specially designed creative experiences to assist you in reaching the goals you have determined. The experiences take into consideration your history and are designed to be success-oriented.
What makes a Music Therapist different than other therapists?
Music Therapists are highly trained as musicians and are trained in counseling techniques, psychological needs of clients, group dynamics, physical development, anatomy, and psychosocial development. Each Music Therapist has received at minimum a bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university and has completed an extensive internship program following graduation. Music Therapists receive national board certification (Music Therapist-Board Certified), similar to the license requirements of other therapy modalities.
Music Therapists can work on similar goals as other therapies, but utilize music interventions to achieve progress toward those goals.
Was the person who played for me in the hospital a Music Therapist?
The only way to be certain is to ask. Music Therapists hold board certification from the Certification Board for Music Therapists and assist individuals in reaching individualized goals. Many hospitals have volunteers play instruments (most frequently harps) and/or sing for patients to provide relaxation. These volunteers do not have training to process a patient's emotional or physical response to music, but provide music as a form of entertainment.
The American Music Therapy Association's January 2014 press release titled "What Music Therapy Is... And Is Not" can be helpful in continuing to clarify the difference between music therapy and music utilized in other areas.
Who do Music Therapists work with?
Professional music therapists work with a wide variety of people in a wide variety of settings. Below is a list of some of the areas in which music therapists work. Please contact us for more information for you or your loved one's specific situation and how we may be able to help.
Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
Correctional & Forensic Settings
Crisis & Trauma Response
Medical Music Therapy
Mental Health Needs
Music Therapy & Music Education
Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities
The American Music Therapy Association provides several Fact Sheets with more specific information on certain populations. Please see our Links page to access those Fact Sheets.
Substance Abuse Problems
Traumatic Brain Injuries
Psychology and Counseling Services
Home Healthcare Services
Hospice and Palliative Care Services
Prenatal, Childbirth, and Postnatal Services
Caring for the Caregiver
Can everyone benefit from Music Therapy?
Music Therapy can be beneficial for many people. However, music can increase agitation and anxiety in others. Occasionally, some people will have negative memories associated with certain music, leading to extremely negative reactions.
These responses cannot always be predicted and require delicate processing and a trained therapist to work through in the moment. Music Therapists are trained in assessment and will never continue therapy if someone displays a negative or harmful response.
How do I become a Music Therapist?
Those who wish to become Music Therapists must earn a bachelor’s degree or higher in Music Therapy from an American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) approved program. Entrance into the program will include an audition for the School of Music and the student must declare a primary instrument.
The curriculum includes coursework in music, music therapy, biology, psychology, social and behavioral sciences, and general studies. Clinical skills are developed through 1200 hours of required fieldwork, including an internship in healthcare and/or education facilities. These experiences allow students to learn how to assess the needs of clients, develop and implement treatment plans, and evaluate and document clinical changes.
Following successful completion of education and internship, a prospective music therapist is eligible to sit for the board certification exam. Once the therapist passes the exam, they hold the designation Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) and are able to practice Music Therapy throughout the United States. The Music Therapist must complete 100 hours of Continuing Education units every five years in order to maintain their board certification.
What does a typical day as a Music Therapist look like?
This answer varies greatly depending on the Music Therapist you ask. Many Music Therapists travel to their clients' homes to provide services and spend a good deal of their day in their car. Other Music Therapists are clinic- or facility-based and their clients travel to see them, so they are able to spend more of their time in direct client care.
The type of Music Therapy the therapist provides varies greatly depending on the population being served, the client's needs, and the therapist's training. You can see a wide variety of music interventions being implemented throughout one day, including singing, playing instruments, song writing, improvisation, Guided Imagery and Music, music listening, lyric analysis, and movement to music, just to name a few.
The one thing that is the same among all Music Therapists is documentation. Every session that is provided must be documented in the client's medical chart. Goals, interventions, outcomes, and plans for future sessions are all vital parts of the therapeutic process. Time must also be left to prepare for upcoming sessions - session planning, learning new songs, creating visual aids, sterilizing instruments, etc.
If you still have a question, please let us know!
If these answered your most pressing questions and you're ready to schedule your consultation to find out if HeART Journeys Expressive Arts Therapies can help you, please click the button below to schedule your free 30 minute consultation!
You can also find more information about music therapy, other expressive art therapies and organizations HeART Journeys has partnered with by visiting our Links page.
We look forward to working with you and helping you find
where your heART journey will lead you!