Music TherapyWhat do music therapy, dreams, connections, and advocacy have to do with each other? In my book, EVERYTHING.

Since 2005, the American Music Therapy Association and the Certification Board for Music Therapists have collaborated on a State Recognition Operational Plan. The primary purpose of this plan is to get music therapy and our MT-BC credential recognized by individual states so that citizens can more easily access our services. The AMTA Government Relations staff and CBMT Regulatory Affairs staff provide guidance and technical support to state task forces throughout the country as they work towards state recognition. To date, their work has resulted in over 35 active state task forces, 2 licensure bills passed in 2011, 1 licensure bill passed in 2012, and an estimated 7 bills being filed in 2013 that seek to create either title protection or a licensure for music therapy.

Why do I love music therapy? 

From my earliest days, my life has been filled with music. I always knew I wanted to work with people and to use music in my work. Finding the field of music therapy allowed me to mix these desires. (You can read more about my career path here.)

It has allowed me to serve a wide range of people with a variety of needs. Gradually, I found my favorite populations were older adults and young children. With time I found my way into the world of intergenerational programs – an area that most builds my energy. (A few details about my programs are here.)


Music therapy has also introduced me to an amazing network of fellow professionals both inside and outside the profession along with wonderful clients who have taught me much along the way. Having musicians such as Ben Folds and Mickey Hart sharing what our profession does and the impact it has in lives is moving. Having a music therapist be portrayed in a movie (The Music Never Stopped) or the main character in a book (Sing You Home)
were things I thought I would not see in my life time when I entered the profession.

What is my dream for the music therapy profession? 

My dream is a greater recognition of the MT-BC (our credential). People are bringing my dream closer through their participation in The State Recognition Operational Plan – a national initiative being implemented jointly by CBMT and AMTA to obtain state recognition of music therapy and the MT-BC credential. This collaborative effort between AMTA Government Relations staff and CBMT Regulatory Affairs staff provides guidance and technical support to state task forces throughout the country as groups of music therapists work toward recognition as defined by their particular state.

The plan involves increasing awareness of the music therapy profession and of what it means to be board-certified. The ultimate goal is that, in all situations, the MT-BC be a minimum requirement as a service provision in every work setting.

That is my dream is as simple and as complicated as that.

Why advocacy?

We  want the public to understand music therapy in ways similar to our mutual understanding of physical therapy or teaching. We want you to receive safe, effective services. We want you to know how to most effectively use music in your life to improve or maintain the quality of your life. We want you to know when it is appropriate to seek the professional support of a music therapist and when you can go it on your own. Check out this easy to understand explanation at Soundscape Music Therapy.

Music therapy doesn’t own music any more than a teacher controls ever aspect of learning in a person’s life. In fact, we want to know how music builds and supports you as individuals. AND, we want to know how you have benefited from music therapy services.

Advocacy includes you – sharing your experiences of how music therapy AND music have impacted you.

I invite you to learn more about music therapy. Use the lists of professionals on the AMTA and CBMT sites to locate music therapist in your area. Visit with us. Share your story. Ask questions. Help us explore where we need to grow as a profession to effectively, efficiently, safely meet your needs now or in the future. Help us understand the support you need to best use music in your life, how to communicate when music therapy services are warranted and when they are not.

Join me in dreaming, connecting and advocating for music therapy.

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