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Fact or Fiction? Music Therapy Edition

By Miranda Murphy, MTBC

Music Therapy can be an enigmatic concept for most people who are not Music Therapists or those receiving Music Therapy. Today we will demystify some of the misconceptions of Music Therapy and hopefully help shed some light on areas people may not be aware of or familiar with.

Fiction one: Any musician can provide music therapy.

This is false. While impressive that someone spent years refining their musical abilities, not just any musician can provide music therapy. Music Therapists are trained and then board certified to provide services. Training involves completing a four year degree and internship with an accredited site (Three Rivers will be providing internships soon!), and finally the passing of the board certification exam. Music Therapists are trained to understand diagnoses and to create treatments based on client need and ability. They are trained in how music can be used to meet non-musical goals. As I always like to remind everyone, if they aren’t an MTBC (Music Therapist Board Certified) they cannot provide Music Therapy!

Fiction Two: Music therapy is mostly for entertainment.

While you often see advertising material of people enjoying their music therapy that isn’t the function of the session. Music Therapists often include music or instruments clients enjoy to better integrate them into their treatment. Music therapy is not for just “keeping people busy” or to “give staff a break from direct client care.” Every session focuses on the meeting and improvement of personal client goals.

Fiction Three: Music therapy is just for autism and the elderly.

While recently a lot of articles and studies have been released on the benefits of music in these settings they are by far not the only potential clients that can engage in and benefit from music

therapy. Music therapy has been shown to help improve communication skills, socialization, and physical abilities, as seen in work with autism and the elderly. However; Music therapy can also aid in mental health treatments through self exploration, discovering appropriate emotional management, and processing events that occur in day to day life. Music therapy has been shown to assist throughout the lifespan for many diagnoses. It can be provided privately, in schools, hospitals, and residential facilities. Currently, Three River Community Care music therapists service schools, care homes, treatment facilities for drug and alcohol, and private sessions right from our offices in Carnegie and Irwin.

Fiction Four: It is almost impossible to receive music therapy services.

This is a giant FALSE. Currently, insurance does not currently cover music therapy, but there are motions and bills going through the PA State Government to change this. Until then Three Rivers Community Care provides music therapy services through private pay at a reasonable cost, the Autism or IDD PA waiver programs, assisting with grants for services, and assisting with the IEP process to have music therapy provided through your child’s school. Don’t hesitate to reach out for more information about music therapy and how you can qualify for any of these options.

Music Therapy is an option for clients seeking support across the lifespan. Treatment can be for diagnosis across the spectrum from verbal, physical, and emotional needs. Music Therapy is evidence based, and provided by trained and certified professionals.

If you think music therapy is for you, reach out to Three Rivers Community Care for more information and how to begin the process to creative and adaptive therapy through musical intervention.


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