About this Website
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This website is intended for music therapists and music therapy students to create awareness and to facilitate conversations around the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion as well as power, privilege, and oppression in the United States. Additionally, the website will provide resources on cultural competence, neurodiversity, and working with those with disabilities.

 

As music therapists, we have an ethical obligation to inform ourselves on these issues and maintain a high level of cultural competence. Please utilize this site to learn new information, explore sensitive topics, connect with other music therapists, and ask any questions you may have. 

The resources on this website are not at all intended to be an exhaustive list of all the literature available on these topics. The intent is that it may be a jumping-off point for students, professionals, and educators to begin or continue their own research and personal education on the topics of diversity, equity, and inclusion. The hope is that this can be a collaborative effort, that people can add their ideas and resources, ask questions, and learn.

Too often the topics mentioned above are not addressed in our undergraduate education, or they are skimmed over and not given the proper attention they deserve. This website as a way to fill those gaps, and allow us as music therapists to educate ourselves on these very important topics. 

*The authors/publishers of this website does not claim any of the works listed as their own. It is with every intention that proper credits and citations are given. If there is a missing name, credit, citation, or otherwise, please let us know so that we can immediately correct it. 

AMTA Membership Statistics


Click this link to read more about the 2018 Member Survey and Workforce Analysis. 

The field of music therapy is disproportionately female, white, and straight. Because of this, our education experience and resources are narrowed based on unconscious bias, and the lens through which we and our peers see the world. This limits the scope of our practice and education. It would be ideal for the race, gender, and ethnic backgrounds of our practitioners to mirror those of the clients that we serve. When this is the case, the clients may feel better understood and the practitioner may better be able to meet the client's needs. 

The quotes below were taken from a survey of student and professional music therapists. These sentiments further illustrate the need for awareness and education around these topics. All quotes are used with permission. 

 "My socioeconomic status related to my race combined with the racism at my PWI [predominantly white institution] internship has caused some trauma that I will need to take time to heal from. "

"I have had a patient say they couldn’t get past my race and fixated on it during the session. They also suggested I go be with my 'own people.'"

"I am often making the decision of how open to be about my sexuality with clients. Some have held different levels of anti-LGBT sentiment, which is a tricky thing to navigate, and I am sometimes frustrated that I don't have the privilege of an apolitical sexuality."

"I have had relationships ruined with teachers and therapists by one awful microaggression about one of my identities.  What clients fall through the cracks and lose access to treatment because music therapists can't see the whole client and system with which the client lives in?"

"[I’ve been challenged by] Having to hide my identities in applying to internship out of fear of discrimination.  Limiting my scope of internship searches due to inability to exist with respect in ultra conservative environments.  I have felt uncomfortable at local professional events knowing that if I bring up my pronouns I will just have to explain it over and over so it's easier just to be misgendered with most adult music therapists."

"The music therapy industry excludes diversity by design. The privilege needed to even get into a MT program creates the lack of diversity. It is a broken system and clients see it."

"I have generally hidden my sexual orientation from clients and peers when I felt it was safer to do so. Being a cis-gendered white woman who passes for straight, my privilege allowed me to do this. It is very difficult to navigate one's intersecting identities in this field of work. We need a lot of support from our professors, supervisors, and mentors who are not always educated on or even aware of these issues."

"I feel that most music therapists that I've encountered have a good handle on general topics, but are unsure on how those may inform their practice.  This can make clients feel like their identities are unseen or inconvenient, despite a therapist's potential education." 

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In Your Words...