Professional Competences of Music Therapists Working in Post-stroke Rehabilitation


  • Anita Forsblom Department of Music, University of Jyväskylä
  • Esa Ala-Ruona



active music therapy, music listening, rehabilitation, stroke


The aim of this qualitative study is to gain more insight into the skills and knowledge that music therapists feel they need in order to work successfully with people who have had an acute stroke. For this purpose, 6 music therapists were interviewed about their own particular specialist education. Another interview topic for them was to recount their subjective experiences of post-stroke rehabilitation work in hospitals and health care units, during the course of two projects: the Music Listening Project (=MUKU), which specifically used music listening during acute stroke rehabilitation; and the Active Music Therapy Project (=MT-STROKE), which used more active music therapy techniques. The interviews pointed to three key categories regarding the factors that are seen to affect clinical thinking: the first hinges on knowledge concerning the neurological basis of strokes; the second on patient interaction itself; and the third on the physiological and emotional aspects of music therapy. The results provide a better understanding of the tacit knowledge possessed by music therapists who work within Stroke Rehabilitation.

Author Biographies

Anita Forsblom, Department of Music, University of Jyväskylä

Anita Forsblom, is a PhD student defending 21.12.12 her thesis: "Experiences of music and music therapy in acute stroke rehabilitation" at the Department of Music of the University of Jyväskylä, Finland. She is also a Fellow of The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (FAMI) granted by the Association for Music and Imagery (USA). Mind-body connection has been one foundational element in her theoretical thinking, because of her on- going training in dance-movement therapy. She works as a private practitioner of music therapy in Vantaa, Finland, and her research focuses on the therapeutic role of music listening on the recovery of cognitive, emotional and motor functions after acute stroke.

Esa Ala-Ruona

Esa Ala-Ruona, PhD, is a music therapist and psychotherapist working as an associate professor and university researcher at the Music Therapy Clinic for Research and Training, at University of Jyväskylä. He is a clinical teacher and a supervisor, and he coordinates the international master's programme of Music Therapy. He is a member of Finnish Centre of Excellence in Interdisciplinary Music Research, and he studies musical interaction and clinical processes in improvisational psychodynamic music therapy, and the progress of rehabilitation of stroke patients in active music therapy. He is the past chair of the Finnish Society for Music Therapy, and the past chair for the Association of Professional Music Therapists in Finland. He currently works as an editor-in-chief for the Finnish Journal of Music Therapy.




How to Cite

Forsblom, A., & Ala-Ruona, E. (2012). Professional Competences of Music Therapists Working in Post-stroke Rehabilitation. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 12(3).



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