Music Therapy

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Music Therapy During the past thirty years, concepts in the mental health profession have undergone continuous and dramatic changes. A relatively new type of therapy is musical therapy, which incorporates music into the healing process. Music therapy also is changing, and its concepts, procedures, and practices need constant reevaluation in order to meet new concepts of psychiatric treatment. The idea of music as a healing influence which could affect health and behavior is as least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato. The 20th century discipline began after World War I and World War II when community musicians of all types, both amateur and professional, went to Veterans hospitals around the country to play for the thousands of veterans suffering both physical and emotional trauma from the wars. The patients' notable physical and emotional responses to music led the doctors and nurses to request the hiring of musicians by the hospitals. It was soon evident that the hospital musicians need some prior training before entering the facility and so the demand grew for a college curriculum. The first music therapy degree program in the world, founded at Michigan State University in 1944. The American Music Therapy Association was founded in 1998 as a union of the National Association for Music Therapy and the American Association for Music Therapy. The music therapist is a competent musician who has received training in the biological and behavioral sciences. Once they have completed one of 69 approved college music therapy curricula including internship involving a period of supervised clinical experience in a psychiatric hospital, they are then eligible to sit for the national examination offered by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. Music therapists who successfully complete the independently administered examination hold the music therapist-board certified credential (MT-BC). The National Music Therapy Registry (NMTR) serves qualified music therapy professionals with the following designations: RMT, CMT, and ACMT. These individuals have met accepted educational and clinical training standards and are qualified to practice music therapy. This broad training allows him or her to assume increasingly varied roles within the psychiatric institutions, and in other areas as well. Imagination, improvisation, and continued learning directed toward community-centered institutions will characterize the successful music therapist. Awareness of the rapid development in the field of mental health will enable the music therapist to demonstrate successfully his or her usefulness in psychiatric endeavors. The clinical settings are all different, but there is a common pattern between them all.

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