What can anti-oppressive analysis offer music therapy? Consideration for ethical practice

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Sue Baines, PhD, MTA, Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery

Music is an expression of culture that creates and maintains structures that continue disparities between persons of dominant and non-dominant status. Music therapy has developed and is practiced within this culture and can be imbued with oppressive characteristics that because of the purpose of remediation, may be difficult to uncover and address. The culture of the service-user, music therapist, music, music therapy, and health service delivery system need to be critically reflected upon to expose and undo both obvious and unknown oppression to increase social justice within music therapy systems, practice, and research, engaging and increasing ethical standards.

Music therapy practices will be critically analyzed through exploring useful concepts in anti-oppressive practice. Participants will heighten their awareness of how to enhance social justice in their music therapy work.

Sue Baines, PhD, MTA, Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery has practiced music therapy for over twenty-five years in many settings. Her research integrates social justice with music therapy practice. In Vancouver since 1994, Sue works in long term care, psychiatry, and teaches in the Bachelor of Music Therapy program at Capilano University.