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January 2023

The scientific approach to art therapy research

Journal/Book: Musiktherapeutische Umschau. 1990; 11: STUTTGART. G. Fischer Verlag. 7-20.

Abstract: This essay originated as a "postscript" to the symposium "Art Therapy in Action and Art Therapies as a Research Subject" initiated by Peter Petersen, which took place in Loccum, West Germany from November 27-29 1987. Leaving aside the necessary debate on the structure and transformation of the concept of science, its philosophical and historical foundations and its consequences for research and view of the world, an attempt is made here - on the basis of the recurring clichés concerning the "scientific approach" - to show that the concept of science must be modified to accomodate the processes involved in music therapy. Demands for reproductability, objectivity and empiricism are examined with a view to their relevance in music therapy and the extent to which they guarantee scientific procedure. Concrete proposals for modifications are made, and it is suggested that music therapy should define its own research object. The author aims to provide arguments for music therapists involved in academic discussion of this matter, and to encourage them to explore it further.

Keyword(s): Scientific-procedure, concept, music-therapy-procedures.

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