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

Dr. Heather Wagner


The purpose of this study was to investigate the theoretical orientations and practices of music therapists working in acute care, adult psychiatric facilities (ACAPF) across the US. The study utilized quantitative research strategies, employing an online, questionnaire-based survey. Responses were analyzed to determine the music therapists’ primary theoretical orientations, whether there were significant differences among the orientations with respect to demographics, working environments, and approaches/methods, as well as whether there were geographic concentrations of theoretical orientations. Most respondents identified as having a behavioral/cognitive behavioral, humanistic/existential, or psychodynamic theoretical orientation. The survey results indicated statistically significant differences among the three orientations with respect to age, unit size in terms of patients, typical length of stay of patients, the importance of group members’ musical experiences being generalizable to settings outside of a musical setting, the importance of group members gaining some degree of insight into their mental condition, the use of improvisation and re-creative methods, and whether group improvisations are considered structured or free. The implications for music therapy are discussed.

Related Pillar(s)


Included in

Music Therapy Commons