Music therapy as a profession in Spain: Past, present and future ​​- by Melissa Mercadal-Brotons, Patricia L. Sabbatella & María Teresa Del Moral Marcos

Volume 9 (1) 2017 – Article (first published on 9 May 2015)

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Music therapy as a profession in Spain: Past, present and future

​​Melissa Mercadal-Brotons, Patricia L. Sabbatella & María Teresa Del Moral Marcos


The use of music for therapeutic purposes has a long history in Spain. For many years, clinical practice, training and research related to music therapy have been present in the country. Several people from different areas of the country have acted as pioneers, contributing great effort and dedication to the establishment of this profession. However, perhaps because these pioneering efforts lacked unity or failed to follow similar directions, there is still a long way to go before this discipline and profession become consolidated and integrated within the education and health systems, and recognised by the relevant authorities. To advance along this way, it is important and necessary to analyse where the music therapy profession lies at present in order to identify those aspects which hinder its development and consolidation.

Keywords: music therapy in Spain; professionalisation of music therapy; music therapy accreditation (music therapy register); music therapy development

Melissa Mercadal-Brotons, PhD, MT-BC, MTAE. Music therapist specialised in the area of gerontology and dementias. Member of the Research Group PSICOPERSONA (FPCCE-Blanquerna, URL). Director of the Master Programme in Music Therapy (idEC-UPF, Barcelona). Coordinator of Research and Master Programmes (Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya-ESMUC). EMTC Spanish Delegate. Chair of the Publications Commission (WFMT).


Patricia L. Sabbatella, PhD, EMTR-Supervisor, MTAE. Senior Lecturer at the University of Cadiz. Director of the Postgraduate Music Therapy Programme. Educator, researcher and clinician in the field of music therapy and music education with special interest in inclusive music education and special education; musical development and music therapy assessment, and music therapy and mental health. Lead researcher of the Research Group HUM-794: Music & Movement in Education and Therapy (Andalusian Research Programme). She has served on professional boards of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) and the European Music Therapy Confederation (EMTC).


María Teresa Del Moral Marcos, PhD student, MTAE, music therapist (Escuela de Música y Danza ‘Santa Cecilia’), lecturer and coordinator of Music Therapy Master Programme (Universidad Pontificia de Salamanca). Vice-President of Asociación Española de Musicoterapeutas Profesionales (AEMP).