Music therapy : a study in professionalisation
This thesis focusses on the way in which the music therapy profession in the UK has developed during the period 1958-2003.1 have investigated historical information, including archival material, regarding the development of music therapy and drawn upon a number of sociological models in order to explore some of the key concepts of profession. I have interwoven the concepts from these two main sources to provide new and original research. Although I argue that the various aspects of the field are all interlinked, I focus on the manner in which music therapy has interacted with the social and political climate within which it has evolved. I argue that the field of music therapy m the UK has engaged fully in a process of professionalisation which involves complex interactions with other professional bodies, the government, accrediting authorities, employers, clients, and the public. These interactions have, on the one hand, created conflicts within the music therapy profession due, in particular, to outside political pressures. On the other hand this has also compelled the profession to seek a balance between the needs of the discipline and its clients, and the demands of the political climate within which music therapy has to work. I consider the arguments that the professionalisation of music therapy is detrimental to the creativity and integrity of the field. These criticisms have been directed at the Association of Professional Music Therapists because its work has been based on securing appropriate terms and conditions for practitioners. Although these criticisms offer an opportunity for music therapy in the UK to reflect on its development, I argue that the process of professionalisation has succeeded in spite of all in creating a strong and ethically sound foundation from which music therapy can be practised, and that this process has not been primarily an exercise m professional self-preservation or promotion.