Volume 11 (2) 2019 – Article (first published on 24 February 2018)
‘Self as instrument’ – Safe and effective use of self in music psychotherapy: Canadian music therapists’ perceptions
This article introduces the results of a pilot survey conducted with accredited Canadian music therapists investigating their perceptions of personal psychotherapy and the concept of Safe and Effective Use of Self (SEUS) in the music therapy relationship. An emailed survey questionnaire covered both closed and open-ended questions on SEUS-related topics. The open-ended questions were analysed using the qualitative data analysis software Nvivo. Simple percentages were calculated to analyse the results of the closed-ended questions. The results suggest that music therapists engaging in psychotherapy seem to work with similar client populations, use similar theoretical approaches and techniques, and hold very similar training to other music therapists. These music therapists appear to have an excellent sense of SEUS, whether or not they practice psychotherapy. Conversely, their training on both SEUS and verbal counselling skills is often seen as inadequate. It is suggested that music therapists who practice psychotherapy have completed their own psychotherapy and have ongoing music psychotherapy supervision. The results can be utilised as a discussion stimulus for the topic of SEUS in music therapy.
Safe and Effective Use of Self (SEUS), music therapy profession, music psychotherapy, personal psychotherapy
Heidi Ahonen, PhD, RP, MTA, FAMI, Professor of Music Therapy, Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. Director of the Manfred and Penny Conrad Institute for Music Therapy Research.