The Perception and Practice of Community Music Therapy in Ireland


  • Leah Murphy



Community Music Therapy, community, Ireland, social activism,


The community music therapy (CoMT) approach is increasingly recognised as a valid way of working with clients in the context of their culture and society. Many descriptions and vignettes of CoMT have been presented internationally which illustrate the various forms it can take, but there is no information on its prevalence or practice in Ireland. My research takes the form of an investigation into Irish examples of, and attitudes to CoMT; how it might be influenced by Irish culture and tradition; how Irish music therapists practicing CoMT place themselves vis a vis the consensus model and vis a vis community music; the extent to which CoMT in Ireland includes elements of social activism; and how practice in Ireland compares with other music therapy practices internationally. The necessary data was gathered by means of a questionnaire which was distributed via e-mail to music therapists registered with IACAT (Irish Association of Creative Arts Therapies) and through interviews with five music therapists who identify to varying degrees with CoMT. The results show different levels of awareness of CoMT among Irish music therapists. Many therapists in the survey reported feeling uneasiness that some of the work they were carrying out did not fit the consensus model of clinical music therapy, but at the same time did not feel that their understanding of CoMT was deep enough to allow them to identify whether their practice falls under that heading. However, the experiences recounted by therapists suggest that CoMT could be well suited to the Irish context. 

Author Biography

Leah Murphy

Leah Murphy is a graduate of the MA in Music Therapy at the University of Limerick, Ireland. She studied music and psychology at undergraduate level at Mary Immaculate College, Limerick.

Additional Files



How to Cite

Murphy, L. (2018). The Perception and Practice of Community Music Therapy in Ireland. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 18(2).