Music Therapy Professional Competencies

In my continuing quest to be a good music therapist, I am adding to my collection of music therapy document summaries with the Professional Competencies. Professional CompetenciesThe Preamble explains that these competencies establish standards for music therapy education and clinical training, as well as the levels of practice. These competencies outline what a music therapist at the Professional Level of Practice, with a Bachlor’s degree or its equivalent in music therapy and a current music therapy credential (MT-BC) is trained to do. There are Advanced Competencies, too, but I’ll look at those later.

The competencies themselves are an outline of each skill a music therapist must possess. These are grouped into 3 main areas: Music Foundations, Clinical Foundations, and Music Therapy.

There are 6 Music Foundations, including music theory and history, composition and arranging skills, major performance medium skills, functional music skills, conducting skills, and movement skills. Each area has specific skills or knowledge that a music therapist must have.

There are 3 Clinical Foundations. Therapeutic Applications include knowledge of neurological processes, typical and atypical human development, client populations and diagnoses. Therapeutic Principles include understanding the therapist-client relationship, group processes, and therapeutic approaches. The third clinical foundation is the Therapeutic Relationship.

There are 11 Music Therapy competencies, including the Foundations and Principles, Client Assessment, Treatment Planning, Therapy Implementation, Therapy Evaluation, Documentation, Termination/Discharge Planning, Professional Role/Ethics, Interprofessional Collaboration, Supervision and Administration, and Research Methods.

Reading this document doesn’t take much time, since it’s an outline. It can help you identify the types of continuing education you might want to pursue!

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