Considerations for Therapeutic Boundaries When Using the Intimate Medium of Music


  • Laura Medcalf



therapeutic boundaries, musical intimacy, music therapy


Conventional understanding of therapeutic boundaries is a common concept present across a range of health care practices. Many therapists in music and health care work adopt these ideals to govern their ethical behaviour in practice. For some therapists, these practices may still be extremely appropriate. However, music practitioners working in newer therapeutic models or more contemporary contexts, such as community music therapy, may value a much more intuitive and reflexive approach to boundaries. In addition, the influence of culture and context are also important, as well as the impact of music. Music practitioners experience powerful moments of connection through music making with people. Music is a medium that invites intimate and personal interactions, and should also be considered in the context of therapeutic boundaries. The new term musical intimacy may help therapists to be aware of the intimate nature of making music with people and the potential vulnerabilities that it can reveal. In addition, this may encourage therapists to explore and reflect upon the boundary complexities that can be present when using music in health and well-being work.

Author Biography

Laura Medcalf

Laura Medcalf is an Australian registered music therapist who is currently a PhD candidate at The University of Melbourne, Australia with the National Music Therapy Research Unit.Her research is a grounded theory study examining how 20 international music therapists describe negotiating boundaries in the musically intimate context of practice.




How to Cite

Medcalf, L. (2016). Considerations for Therapeutic Boundaries When Using the Intimate Medium of Music. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 16(2).