Virtual Music Therapy: Developing New Approaches to Service Delivery
In examining adaptations to music therapy services stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers from Seattle Children’s Hospital and UH Connor Integrative Health Network created a tiered model for the development of virtual music therapy services. In a summary of related research, Knott and Block (2020) state that both The Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT) and the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) emphasize music therapists’ responsibility prioritize client safety. Authors note acceptance of this responsibility has been manifested in the switch to remote services. They further highlight that music therapists are uniquely trained to design effective remote services that meet a range of individualized needs. The first tier of virtual service delivery described by Knott and Block (2020) involves gathering and providing online resources created by others, such as videos or website links, which promote the use of music to address client goals. The second tier involves creating and providing original, online resources created by the music therapist, such as audio/video recordings of interventions, individualized to address a client’s specific objectives. The third tier involves facilitation of live telehealth sessions by a music therapist via video platform or phone. Amongst all tiers, authors stress the importance of considering copyright law for all non-original materials utilized, HIPPAA regulations, any potential limitations to technology access that clients may have, guidelines put forward by the organization where the MT is employed, and any physical assistance a client may need from a caregiver or family member to engage with virtual services. Knott and Block (2020) further emphasize importance of the technological equipment/software selected by the music therapist, such as the video platform, webcam, and microphone. Authors note that continued consideration of these elements may help teletherapy to effectively bring opportunities not only for providing services during the COVID-19 pandemic, but for increasing access to care for individuals with a variety of needs who are unable to receive in-person treatment.
Knott, D., & Block, S. (2020). Virtual music therapy: Developing new approaches to service delivery. Music Therapy Perspectives, 38(2), 151-156. doi:10.1093/mtp/miaa017