Date of Award


Document Type


Copyright Status, No Creative Commons License

All Rights Reserved

Degree Name

Master of Science in Music Therapy


Music Therapy

First Advisor

Heather Wagner


Clinical supervision is integral to student development during music therapy internship, yet fundamental characteristics of the supervisory relationship can become a source of conflict. The purpose of this phenomenological study was to construct the essence of music therapy clinical supervisors’ experience of conflict with their interns. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with five music therapy clinical supervisors: three with more than five years of experience supervising interns and two with less than three years of experience. Interviews were transcribed and analyzed for themes. Different themes emerged based on supervisors’ level of experience, which informed my construction of the phenomenological essence. Supervisors’ early experiences with conflict were unexpected, caused uncertainty, and resulted in avoidant behavior. However, those with more than five years of experience described having a positive perception of disagreement, and stated that they addressed issues with their interns immediately, using dialogue to convey support and encouragement. Three themes also emerged across levels of experience: 1) challenges in balancing supervisory roles, 2) the experience of resolving conflict and 3) the experience of unresolved conflict. Implications for music therapy clinical supervisor training are discussed as are suggestions for future research.

Related Pillar(s)


Included in

Music Therapy Commons