Resilience Over Burnout: A Self-Care Guide for Music Therapists Working with Clients Who Have Experienced Trauma

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Kunimura, Ami
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
Self-care is crucial in preventing burnout (Lee & Miller, 2013) and an ethical responsibility for those in helping professions (Barnett & Cooper, 2009). Research has shown that music therapists experience an average range of burnout on the Maslach Burnout Inventory (Kim, 2012; Vega, 2010) due to work factors, social factors, individual factors, and a disconnection with music (Clementes-Cortes, 2013; Hesser, 2001). As music therapy is becoming a more widely accepted treatment for trauma, music therapists must be prepared with self-care tools (Borczon, 2013), because compassion fatigue, secondary traumatic stress, and vicarious traumatization are consequences of the emotionally charged nature of trauma work (Newell & MacNeil, 2010). Although consequences of burnout for music therapists are multidimensional (Clementes-Cortes, 2013), burnout is not inevitable (Fowler, 2006). With selfcare practices that promote self-awareness, self-regulation, and balance, burnout can be prevented (Baker, 2003). This project was developed to create a self-care guide for professional music therapists working with clients who have experienced trauma to increase resiliency through professional, personal, and creative self-care practices.