Board Certified Music Therapists’ Knowledge and Use of Alternative Sound/Music Healing Practices

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Houghton, Nancy
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
Music therapy is an emerging alternative or complementary therapy seeking to establish a standard of practice through evidence-based research. Concurrently, alternative sound/music healing methods are emerging which create confusion and competition for consumers, medical personnel and facility administrators. This study describes the extent to which Board Certified Music Therapists (MT-BCs) use alternative sound/music healing methods and the influence that personal factors might have on MT-BCs’ practices and attitudes toward these methods. The study employed a web-based survey designed by the researcher and conducted on The participants were MT-BCs whose email addresses were made available by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. The survey yielded a 37% response rate with 1004 respondents. By margin of 2:1, respondents favored further research and training in alterative sound/music techniques. Further, current use of alternative techniques may be summarized as: (1) The number of years in practice seems to have no bearing on whether a MT-BC uses or embraces alternative sound/music techniques, and (2) There is evidence suggesting that the Mid-Atlantic and Western regions have a greater tendency to use alternative sound/music techniques. A majority of respondents (76%) report they never collaborate with alternative sound/music practitioners in their work, and nearly one-half perceive some threat to the employment of music therapists from alternative practitioners. Areas of interest for future research and training are discussed, as well as implications for trends of practice in music therapy.