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Putting the Treatment Puzzle Together: Where Music Therapy Fits

Posted Sep 11 2012 8:30am

Ever since I started my business, I’ve made reaching out to professionals in related fields my number 2 priority (after giving my clients top notch music therapy treatment, of course!). Many of the questions I receive from the therapists, physicians, and educators are similar: what is music therapy, does it work with x, y, z, what does a session look like, how do I determine an appropriate referral, etc. But recently, I was asked a very interesting question:

“Physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy all have their areas that they specifically focus on. I’m having trouble understanding where music therapy fits in to that picture. Could you explain that to me?”

It took me a moment to process the question for what it was. Music Therapy is an extraordinarily broad field. One of the things that we are most proud of is how we can address multiple areas of functioning simultaneously. It had become something that I almost took for granted as a “known”, or at least something that was easily understood.

My answer? Music Therapy, when addressing those goals that are simultaneously addressed with other therapies, becomes a safe, structured, encouraging, and natural environment in which to generalize those skills outside of the PT/ST/OT’s office. One of the many reasons that I place a lot of importance on receiving current progress documentation from schools and other therapies is so that I can work as part of a team to address those same areas as everyone else.

These are, of course, my views as they apply to working with children with special needs. If you are a therapist in the same population, I’d love to hear how you would answer that question. If you are a therapist in a different population, I’d love to hear how you would answer too, since I can already think of different answers for different settings on my own.

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