Ethics & scope for therapeutic musicians

The Music for Healing and Transition Program➚ defines the scope of practice as well as the code of ethics and conduct for Certified Music Practitioners. These documents outline our role in the healthcare team and our behavior with respect to the patient and their families. These documents also help to define how therapeutic music is different from music therapy.

Excerpts from the MHTP scope of practice

These definitions are quoted directly from the Scope of Practice of the Certified Music Practitioner (my emphasis). You can read the entire document on MHTP’s site here: complete MHTP scope of practice➚

With regards to patient interaction:

  • A Certified Music Practitioner (CMP) approaches the patient from the stance of being of service, rather than as a performer.

  • A CMP refrains from utilizing music or the musical instrument in a manner that solicits patient participation.

  • A CMP uses only simple statements for self-introduction, patient orientation to the therapeutic music session, and for obtaining the patient’s permission when initiating the session and during the session.

  • A CMP refers patient needs to other members of the healthcare team when the needs are not within the Scope of Practice of a therapeutic musician.

With regards to musical proficiency:

  • A CMP can extend and adapt musical pieces to differing rhythm, meter, and tempo as required by the patient’s condition in-the-moment.

  • A CMP understands and uses silence as an integral part of each music offering.

With regards to ethical and professional behavior:

  • A CMP obtains referrals following appropriate protocols.

  • A CMP conducts information-sharing sessions (in-services, etc.) providing accurate and appropriate information about, and within the scope of, therapeutic music, respecting the intellectual property rights of MHTP.

  • A CMP regularly practices a form of self care which fosters self-development and self-understanding, and provides a method to relieve the emotional and physical stresses of working in a therapeutic environment.

Excerpts from the MHTP code of ethics and conduct

These definitions are quoted directly from the the MHTP Code of Ethics and Conduct (my emphasis). You can read the entire code here: complete MHTP Code of Ethics and Conduct➚

  • I will perform my work as a Certified Music Practitioner with integrity, always keeping the interest of the patient I am serving as my priority.

  • I will respect the patient’s rights and dignity, providing therapeutic music based upon each patient’s unique needs and with respect for individual patient differences.

  • I will work harmoniously with nurses, physicians, and other members of the patient’s healthcare team and staff in those facilities where I serve.

  • I will hold all information shared during a therapeutic music session as confidential and uphold all HIPAA requirements.

  • I will refrain from incorporating other healing modalities into my therapeutic music sessions unless I have the qualifications to do so and unless I have the patient’s and/or the family’s/caregiver’s permission.

  • I will refrain from proselytizing my religions beliefs through choice of music or speech during a therapeutic music session.

Read a description of a therapeutic music session, or see ways to contact me.