Response to Music Therapy in Greece

Dear Editor,
We read the article Music Therapy in Greece written by Giorgos Tsiris (2011).

It is a thorough and informative article. However, we wish to clarify some things and add some more information. Mr. Tsiris describes the music therapy programs in Greece as seminar based rather than training programs. Certainly, there is much confusion about the classifications for “trainings” or “seminars”, especially between the United States and other countries around the world. In the United States, “seminars” often refer to graduate classes. But this is not the case in Greece. It is important to refer to the program at the Music Therapy Center in Thessaloniki founded and directed by Dr. Dora Psaltopoulou as a “training program” in the Greek context, because it is, in all senses, a true music therapy training program. It has been recognized internationally and graduates of the program are accepted for advanced training in major universities in the United States and Europe.

We are graduates of the Music Therapy Center in Thessaloniki and were two of the first students of the program. The program required a bachelor’s degree and was conducted on a graduate level. Since Music Therapy wasn't an accredited course of study in Greece at the time, we received a diploma for our studies from the Music College in Thessaloniki. This degree is equivalent to the degree that most of the music teachers have in Greece.

The courses are held in the building of the Music College of Thessaloniki. In order to be admitted, students must be at least 23 years old and demonstrate a high level of education and musicianship in at least one instrument. Typically applicants have a music degree from a music college and/or a BA degree in a related field. An audition and interview are required before being admitted. The students receive 300 hours of group supervision, 100 hours per year, and private supervision as needed.

Typically, graduates of the program who also hold a BA degree from a Greek university, find employment in both public and private health institutions as well as in schools of special education. The students who hold only the Music Therapy certification are hired in private health institutions, such as rehabilitation centers, institutions for people with multiple disabilities, special needs, mental retardation, emotional disturbances, autism and psychiatric conditions. The MA Music Therapy program certification is fully recognized in private institutions.

During our studies, we had the opportunity to meet and be taught by some of the best Music Therapists in the world, such as Barbara Hesser, Alan Turry, Susan Feiner, Peter Jampel and Karen Nicenson. This experience motivated us to apply for advanced music therapy studies at New York University. We were accepted in the Master’s program as advanced students because of our previous studies in Greece. The Music Therapy Center in Thessaloniki has offered a degree since 1996 and it also creates conferences, seminars, presentations to support and raise awareness of the power of Music Therapy in Greece and to educate government agencies in order for Music Therapy to be recognized as a profession and course of study. The recently created position of Lecturer, Music Therapist at the Department of Music Studies, School of Fine Arts, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki was born because of the efforts of the Music Therapy Center program and Dr. Dora Psaltopoulou. In addition, to creating a new university teaching position the Music Therapy Center was a key force in the establishment of the Professional Music Therapy Association. We were proud to be part of this pioneering work.

A Compendium of Music Therapy resources under the auspices of the United Nations recognizes the Music Therapy Center in Thessaloniki as an accredited Music Therapy program in Greece.

More information can be found at:

  • Sincerely,
    Makaria Psiliteli MA, MT-BC (Limited Permit Creative Arts Therapist)
    The Hebrew Home at Riverdale, New York

    Potheini Vaiouli MA, MT-BC
    Associate Instructor-Doctoral Candidate, Indiana University, Bloomington