Examining the Professional Skills of new MT-BC’s: A Survey

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Gilliam, Kirby
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
As a small business owner, I have experienced new professionals lacking professional skills outlined by the American Music Therapy Association’s (AMTA) professional competencies (2023). Basic professional skills outlined include, but are not limited to conflict resolution, meeting deadlines, and demonstrating critical self-awareness (AMTA, 2023). A complete list of competencies is listed in table 1. Understanding why these competencies are not apparent is important for increasing quality of facilitation in the music therapy field in addition to increasing quality of therapists while decreasing burnout. This thesis explores the sixteen professional competencies outlined by AMTA and professional music therapists’ opinions on where they learned the competency and how well they were prepared upon entering the field. An exploration of existing research and this study confirms discrepancies in new professionals’ abilities as therapists and the survey supports the claim that professionals are practicing while expressing areas of unpreparedness. Discussion supports more research to further understand the breakdown in competency and the importance of increasing gatekeeping for the safety and quality of care of clients provided by music therapists. This study seeks to understand where young professionals need support to provide information to educators and supervisors to increase the quality of an employee ultimately increasing quality of care and growth of the field.