Clinical Decision Making with Parent-Child Dyads: A Music Together Within Therapy Approach

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Carol Ann Blank, MMT, MT-BC, ABD (Drexel University)

Clinical decision making for the music therapist is the process by which the music therapist chooses what to do in the course of therapy to achieve the goals of treatment (Sears, 2007). Research on clinical decision making for Music therapists who are also Music Together Within Therapy providers explored the question “What are the processes music therapists undergo when working with parent-child dyads?” Study findings suggest beliefs and attitudes that appear to be salient to this process for the MTWT community may have some relevance to the early childhood music therapy community.

Research into the clinical decision-making processes of music therapists who are Music Together Within Therapy providers working with parent-child dyads suggest beliefs and attitudes that may serve as underlying forces on therapists’ clinical decision making. These include the belief that the creation of an aesthetic experience of music is the music therapist’s responsibility. Additionally, the therapist’s clinical decision-making extends beyond the session in order to embed music-making in the family life in service of the therapeutic goals. The research design, an exploratory sequential mixed methods design utilizing grounded theory with subsequent survey, allowed themes to be revealed through interview (qualitative research) and then endorsed by the larger MTWT community through survey. Discussion of the findings will include study design, analysis process, and suggestions for future research. Video examples will be used to illustrate concepts offered during this session.

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Carol Ann Blank has been a music therapist for over 20 years. She is the Manager of Special Needs Services at Music Together LLC and also manages the Music Together Within Therapy program. Carol Ann is a doctoral candidate at Drexel University (Philadelphia, PA).