Mixed-methods Survey of Professional Perspectives of Music Therapy Practice in Mental Health

Lillian Eyre
Jin-Hyung Lee


The purpose of this mixed-methods survey was to gain insight into the perspectives of music therapists (MTs) (N = 255, 35.46%) working in mental health in the United States. It addressed 1) demographics; 2) clinical perspectives; 3) techniques used in clinical practice, rationales used in clinical decision-making, positive outcomes of specific techniques, and challenges to using specific techniques; 4) personal attitudes toward conducting research, usefulness of current research for clinical practice; and 5) professional issues related to growth and job opportunities in the field of mental health. Descriptive statistics, correlations, and thematic analysis revealed that the professional conditions for MTs vary according to job security and specialized training. MTs who worked in one institution with less specialized training were less likely to be supervised by an MT-BC, conducted primarily group sessions, and had less job satisfaction. Those with specialized training tended to work in more than one setting, had more individual client sessions and fewer large groups, and often received supervision from an MT-BC. MTs used a wide variety of techniques and methods to address specific goals. Challenges to using particular techniques included budget, access to instruments, group size, safety, and space. Research was highly regarded, as an essential contribution to clinical practice. MTs perceived that an increase in evidence-based research in mental health, and music therapy advocacy, were important factors to stimulate growth in the field. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2018 APA, all rights reserved)