Supervision and Learning Needs of Music Therapy Interns in the Pediatric Medical Setting: An Inquiry of Supervisors

Thumbnail Image
Klinger, Elizabeth
Master of Arts in Music Therapy
The many and dynamic roles in internship supervision can confuse music therapy interns and supervising music therapists alike. The level of intensity and immediacy involved in internship supervision in the pediatric medical setting leaves many music therapists relying on their own experience and instincts to navigate supervisory challenges, which leads to a high level of variability among what learning takes place during the course of the music therapy internship in a training environment that is already unpredictable. There are limited resources and no additional specialized training available for internship supervisors in the pediatric medical setting. For this study, I used phenomenological inquiry (Forinash & Grocke, 2005) to capture the lived experience of five music therapy internship directors in pediatric medical settings. I recorded and transcribed phone conversations with participants and created a distilled essence (Moustakas, 1994) to summarize each interview. The corresponding transcript and summary was sent back to each participant for their revisions and approval. I identified themes using hand-coding (Creswell, 2014) and phenomenological analysis and representation was incorporated into sharing the results (Colaizzi, 1978; Creswell, 2013; Moustakas, 1994). Five major themes arose from this process: (1) emotional preparedness of the intern, (2) intern self-discovery/ emergence through independence and individualization, (3) professional expectations of the intern: initiative and flexibility, (4) redefining supervision, and (5) supervisor strength and resourcefulness. I concluded that the essence of the internship is the experience that students gain through direct clinical observation and therapy implementation. Interns should be allowed ample opportunities for independence and to develop their own style and approach. The success of the students who are placed in a pediatric medical internship is contingent upon their level of academic readiness and emotional maturity. Additionally, internship supervisors in this setting must be dedicated to their own growth and development, and engage in supervision. I hope this research can be used for a future development of a guide, expectations, and/or training process for music therapy internship supervisors in the pediatric medical setting.