Revamping Referrals: Reworking the Music Therapy Referral Process at Southern Wisconsin Center

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Veronica M. Truby

Referral is the first step in the music therapy process. Learn how the music therapy referral process and form was revamped to better assist members of the interdisciplinary team at Southern Wisconsin Center understand individuals’ areas of clinical need when referring them to music therapy services.

Presentation Description:

This presentation will delve into why a music therapy referral revamp became necessary at Southern Wisconsin Center, how staff was educated on reasons to refer an individual for music therapy services and how creating a new music therapy referral form made the process simpler for staff. Prior to 2019, the majority of individuals at Southern Wisconsin Center referred to music therapy were referred due to the fact they enjoyed music or wanted to have music therapy for the individuals’ life enrichment goal for that year. This turned out to be a wonderful opportunity to educate staff on what music therapy is, what the music therapy process is, and what are individuals’ areas of clinical need when referring them to music therapy services. Along with giving this presentation to staff, a new, simpler referral form was formulated to give a staff a better idea of clinical reasons for referral. In addition, another sheet in the referral form gave descriptions of clinical reasons for referral. This was integral in staff understanding the clinical reasons for referral when referring individuals for music therapy services. Following this presentation, the music therapist met with members of the interdisciplinary team to re-refer each individual on the waiting list to music therapy using the new referral form. Staff gave feedback to the music therapist saying they have a better understanding not only of the music therapy referral process but of music therapy as a whole. This continues to be successfully implemented at Southern Wisconsin Center.

Learner Objectives:

  • Participants will understand the need to educate the interdisciplinary team regarding appropriate referral criteria for music therapy based on clients’ needs. (CBMT Domain II. A. 2)
  • Participants will engage in 4 referral examples designed to help participants evaluate the appropriateness of each referral for music therapy services. (CBMT Domain II. A. 3)
  • Participants will understand how to develop and implement an appropriate referral system for their populations served. (CBMT Domain II. A. 1)


Target Audience:

Students, Entry-level professionals, Experienced professionals

Presenter Biography:

Veronica Truby, MT-BC, is a neurologic music therapist currently working at Southern Wisconsin Center in Union Grove, Wisconsin. She serves adults with developmental disabilities combined with psychological conditions and medical frailties.