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October 2021

A resource manual on private practice in music therapy

Abstract: The purpose of the project was to write a resource manual on opening and maintaining a private practice in music therapy. To improve the relevance of the manual for music therapy professionals, a survey of registered music therapists in the state Texas was conducted to solicit perceptions of the essential elements of a private practice. Of the 104 questionnaires mailed, 55 were returned intact for statistical analysis by mainframe computer, using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences. Respondents were aged 20 to 50 or over. The majority (80%) of those responding had less than ten years experience as a music therapist, and 34.6% had less than 4 years experience. A majority (77.8%) of those responding were currently working in music therapy, with 8.7% working as clinicians, 65.2% as students and 26.1% checking "RMT Other". Some (27.8%) of those responding had been in private practice at least 50% of their workweek at some point in their careers. The survey requested: (1) rated degrees of importance of the 66 elements listed according to a five-point semantic differential scale in financial, logistical, educational, clinical, self-care, and continuing education areas, and (2) self-rated degree of preparedness in key elements of private practice, according to an identical scale converted to represent preparedness in financial, logistical, and clinical areas. Write-in comments were also requested. Mean importance ratings ranged from 2.35 (refunds, but no make-up session) to 4.69 (following up referral sources). Mean preparedness ratings ranged from 1.70 (methods for securing third party payment) to 4.71 (teaching music to non-handicapped students at the beginning level). Less experiences and younger therapists rated many financial items significantly more important than older, more experienced respondents. A resource manual was then compiled, based on perceptions obtained from the survey, published and unpublished sources, points gathered in seminars on self-employment, interviews and the writer's experience.

Keyword(s): resources, music-therapy, private-practice, music-therapy-practice.

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