What is music therapy?

Music therapy is a discipline in which Certified Music Therapists (MTAs) use music purposefully within therapeutic relationships to support development, health, and well-being. Music therapists use music safely and ethically to address human needs within cognitive, communicative, emotional, musical, physical, social, and spiritual domains. – Canadian Association of Music Therapists–  September 2020

Who benefits from music therapy?

Music therapy is used with individuals of various ages, abilities, and musical backgrounds.  Music therapy can help an incredibly wide range of people to address the challenges they face. This includes but is not limited to the following populations:
  • Acquired Brain Injury
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Autism and Developmental Disabilities
  • Bi-Polar Disorder
  • Chronic Illness
  • Critical Care
  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Depression
  • Eating Disorders
  • Emotional Trauma
  • Geriatrics
  • Heart Disease
  • Mood Disorders
  • Neonatal Care
  • Obstetrics
  • Oncology
  • Pain Control
  • Palliative Care
  • Personality Disorders
  • Personal Growth
  • Physical Impairments
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Self-Care and Wellness
  • Speech and Language Impairments
  • Stroke
  • Substance Abuse and Addiction
  • Victims of Abuse
  • Visual Impairments
  • Youth at Risk

Where do Certified Music Therapists (MTA) work?

Music therapists work in a variety of institutional, community, and private practice settings.  The following is a sample of where you might find a music therapist:
  • Client’s Homes
  • Community Programs
  • Correctional Centres
  • Day Treatment Programs
  • Hospices
  • Hospitals
  • Long Term Care Centres
  • Mental Health Centres
  • Private Practice
  • Substance Abuse and Addictions Centres
  • Schools

What training does an Certified Music Therapist (MTA) have?

University coursework consists of supervised clinical placements and academic study in the areas of music therapy, music, biology and anatomy, and psychology.  Following the completion of post secondary education (certificate, bachelor or masters degrees) in music therapy, the music therapist will complete a 1000 hour supervised internship. During the internship, the music therapy intern consolidates knowledge and skills in music therapy, develops competence with one or more clinical populations, and gradually assumes the full range of responsibilities of a professional music therapist.  The music therapist will receive MTA (Certified Music Therapist) or MT-BC (Music Therapist- Board Certified) status upon completion of a written exam approved by the Canadian Association of Music Therapy (CAMT). The education and development as music therapists does not end with the completion of accreditation. They must maintain their credentials through continuing education credits. Music therapists thus are continually seeking to advance the theoretical and practical application of music therapy techniques.

Why haven’t I heard of music therapy before?

Music therapy is a relatively new profession in Canada.  It’s been founded on research, science and individual’s experiencing the benefits of music therapy for decades.  Music therapy began in an unofficial capacity in World War I and II when community musicians went to military hospitals around the country to play for veterans suffering from both physical and emotional traumas. The veteran’s physical and emotional response to music led doctors and nurses to request hiring of musicians by the hospital. It was soon evident that the musicians needed some prior training before playing in hospitals so they could properly handle client’s medical and therapeutic needs.  The demand grew for a music therapy curriculum.  Current research on the mechanics of music and the brain are gaining international attention and bringing the areas of music therapy and music in medicine into public consciousness.
You can read more about the history of music therapy in Canada from the 1950-1970s here.

What is a Registered Counselling Therapist (RCT)

Counselling Therapy is the art and science of assisting clients to grow toward a better sense of well-being. It is a client-centred process of active engagement and the skilled use of interpersonal relationship to facilitate improvement in psychological, social, spiritual, physical or cognitive functioning. Counselling Therapy is a recognized health care profession in the province of Nova Scotia under the Department of Health and Wellness.   Counselling Therapists are highly trained professionals with a graduate degree from a recognized counselling program, extensive training and supervised work experience in counselling.

Counselling Therapists utilize counselling skills to address the diverse needs of individuals, couples, families, groups, organizations and communities. This is accomplished through assessment, counselling, education, consultation, collaboration and advocacy. Counselling therapists may also perform roles such as management, education, program development and research.

At our K’jipuktuk/ Halifax, NS location, music therapy services can be covered through many insurance companies and organizations in the HRM because Mackenzie Costron is a Registered Counselling Therapist (RCT) with the Nova Scotia College of Counselling Therapist (NSCCT).