Humanistic Music Therapy in the Child Welfare


child welfare
humanistic music therapy
developing a new care unit

How to Cite

Nebelung, I., & Stensæth, K. (2018). Humanistic Music Therapy in the Child Welfare. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy, 18(4).


Music therapy has for a long time been associated with humanistic values, both among music therapists but more and more also among people outside the field. Do we all have a common understanding of what humanistic music therapy is? The point of departure in this paper is the development of a new Norwegian residential care unit for adolescents in child welfare services. Those responsible for this unit have included a music therapist, because they want to base the enterprise and its activities upon the values they associate with music therapy. This paper asks: What is “humanistic music therapy” and how might its perspectives correlate with the visions and ideas of the leaders of a child welfare institution? A literature review will assess the critical understanding of the concept of humanistic music therapy, in order to understand its unbiased and foundational values. Semi-structured interviews with the unit’s initiators will describe their visions and hopes for the development of the care unit with regard to humanistic music therapy. By correlating the findings from the literature review and the interviews, the paper describes aspects that might contribute to a common ground of understanding for the music therapist and the workers in the unit, which in turn might contribute to personal growth and health promotion among the adolescents and their community.

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