The Relationship between Music Therapists’ Personal Use of Music and Work Engagement

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Norman, Rachelle
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
How do music therapists cope with the stressors involved with their work? Are music therapists using music for self-care? Although music therapists certainly facilitate and engage in music experiences with their clients, and although music therapists routinely tout the benefits of participation in music experiences, little data exists regarding music therapists’ use of music for themselves. Existing research on occupational health has shown that workers with high levels of work engagement, that is vigor, dedication, and absorption, have more positive personal experiences both in and outside of the workplace; however, little is known about work engagement among music therapists. At the same time, many music therapists have written about the importance of music in their own lives, but little is known about how the population of music therapists as a whole utilizes music outside of work settings. This researcher used a survey-based study to investigate music therapists’ levels of work engagement as well as their personal relationships with music, describing both music therapists’ level of work engagement and personal uses of music as well as examining the relationship between these two phenomena. Data analysis indicated that music therapists who participate in music experiences more often have higher levels of work engagement, with some variation depending on type of experience, setting, and purpose.