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services they provide, making music therapy a costeffective treatment. Figure 2 provides a summary of research substantiated ways in which music therapy services have been shown to be cost-effective. Cost-effectiveness benefits are even more impressive when compared to the average cost of a music therapist’s salary, benefits, and equipment (see Walworth, 2005 for an example of a cost-effectiveness analysis) and when considering the fact that some music therapists are able to obtain third-party reimbursement for their services (see Standley and Walworth, 2010 for a cost-effectiveness analysis that factors in third-party reimbursement). In addition, music therapy carries minimal risk to patients. When factoring in its low cost, established benefit, and minimal risk, music therapy can be shown to have a very favorable cost/benefit/risk profile. Beyond communicating the potential benefits of music therapy and its cost-effectiveness, music therapists must be prepared to describe how music therapy is unique from other services. Increasing awareness and understanding of music therapy should be a priority when communicating with administrators. Professional advocacy includes building working relationships with others outside the field of music therapy while providing information. Professional Advocacy In order to educate and advocate, music therapists should be prepared to help administrators understand what makes music therapy unique among other forms of integrative medicine. Music therapy is different in part because of the use of music as the modality and in part because of the individualized treatment clients receive through interactions with a qualified music therapist. Music therapy is more than playing music for patients; the skilled intervention by the music therapist combining music and counseling skills offers a uniquely beneficial service. Although other practitioners use music as a modality, only music therapists have the specialized training necessary to conduct standardized assessments, design treatment plans addressing individualized goals, and document progress. AMTA and the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians (NSBTM) created a guide that can be used to help others

imagine 7(1), 2016

understand the differences between music therapy and other therapeutic music services (2015). Figure 3 provides a summary of sources of information that can help administrators better understand what music therapists do and what makes music therapy unique.



ADVOCACY INFORMATION Understanding/altering pediatric treatment team members’ perceptions of music therapy

Darsie, 2009

Differences between music therapy and therapeutic music

AMTA & NSBTM, 2015

AMTA fact sheets: Music therapy and young children, Music therapy in medicine

AMTA, 2016

Benchmark hospitals that provide music therapy

Harder, 2015; Truven Health Analytics, 2016

Table 3. Professional Advocacy Resources. In 2015-2016, U.S. News and World Report published a list of the Best Children’s Hospitals in the country in 10 specialties. Twelve hospitals made the Honor Roll, meaning they had high scores in three or more specialties (Harder, 2015). A search of the websites of Honor Roll hospitals revealed that 11 out of 12 of the top children’s hospitals offer music therapy, supporting the notion that leaders in the healthcare field see the value of music therapy in pediatric settings. Additionally, information about whether music therapy is present in hospitals within specific categories is helpful when communicating with administrators. For example, if a music therapist were describing music therapy services


Profile for imagine

imagine 2016  

In this issue, over 70 authors from 12 countries share their dedication and passion for early childhood music therapy with imagine readers....

imagine 2016  

In this issue, over 70 authors from 12 countries share their dedication and passion for early childhood music therapy with imagine readers....