Skip to main content

The 3 Things Music Therapy Clients Need?

This week we look at client needs and satisfaction.  If we are to have a #caseformusictherapy it is essential we look at ensuring the music therapist’s lens remains on the patient.

Problems Solved

What clients need more than anything is their problems solved.  Some are very clear about what they want the music therapist to do, others will need an assessment.  At this stage, it is also important for the music therapist to be clear as to what they can and can not do.

At the heart of music therapy practice, Music Therapists take time to establish a relationship with their clients. After listening and assessing where their client is at, a treatment plan is developed. When clients begin to feel the change they desire, many become long-term clients and often advocates of the service.

Music Therapists have put many resources into qualitative research. The reason qualitative research (which focuses on detailed, individualized responses to open-ended questions), as opposed to quantitative research (which favors standardized questions and representative, statistically significant sample sizes), is because clients’ pain points are highly subjective. Even if two clients have exactly the same problem, the underlying causes of that problem could differ greatly from one client to another – and therefore require a different treatment.

A music therapist has been trained to provide a spectrum of treatment, pending need. 

Sustainable Sessions

Therapy must be effective without breaking the bank of an organization or individual. Time and time again I have heard organizations say music therapy “cost-effective,” yet it is still not readily available in most regions for many populations.

Sustainable development refers to the efforts made by all those within healthcare to modernize and improve healthcare systems and modes of delivery. The concept of sustainability in healthcare has developed in response to the need to find a viable alternative to the current medical paradigm of a pharmaceutically dominant mental healthcare system that pays minimal attention to prevention. 

One of the more interesting facts about music therapy – and most therapies – is that they are equally beneficial for treatment and prevention.

Four principles of sustainable healthcare have been identified: prevention; patient empowerment; lean service delivery; and preferential use of low-carbon technologies (such as telecare or remote monitoring of patient symptoms using smartphone apps). Widespread implementation of these principles will ensure healthcare services maintain high-quality standards with reduced barriers.

Another recent inquiry identified six key themes that healthcare services need to addressin the 21st century.

1 Personalized services through the engagement of patients, their carers, and families, with an emphasis on self-management.

2 Integrated care between physical health, mental health, and social care.

3 Addressing an individual’s mental health needs across the lifespan.

4 Integrating mental health training into the general workplace and in other professions, such as teaching, alongside encouraging peer support workers.

5 Research into both clinical and social interventions to support people with health problems.

6 Public health with a focus on prevention.

With ongoing education supports and resources Music Therapists, like all other therapists, have a unique opportunity to be a part of this modern integration plan.

However, with limited access to music therapists throughout the globe, and limited data focused on their efforts within an integrated system it is difficult for the public to know if Music Therapists are indeed accessible/sustainable service.

Measured Success 

So not only does the patient require their problems to be solved and that music therapy is something they can access as required but the must also see ongoing progress. The primary reason change must be measured is to ensure the therapy is making a difference.

We all know that tracking progress or outcomes in therapy determines whether the time, effort, and money are positively impacting the individual, group, or organization.

For decades the measurement of therapy outcomes has primarily been the focus of researchers, not therapists. These researchers have typically focused on identifying which therapy approaches are better than others at effectively treating particular problems. However, analysis of this research shows that no particular approach to therapy is consistently better than another, and no particular therapy approach is effective with everyone with a particular type of problem.

This does not seem to help the case for music therapy. 

But what I know for sure is that music therapists I speak with are working hard within the organizations they serve.  They are considerately getting to know their clients and helping each individual with their needs.  Music Therapists are also communicating their desire to be a part of the broader health integration systems – to ensure sustainable services for the young, the hospitalized, and those in long term care.

What is unsure at this point is if their efforts to be a part of the bigger healthcare system is working.  More data is required to better answer this bigger question. 

Next month is our final post in this blog series. We will review what we have found out and if there is, in fact, a #caseformusictherapy.