Therapy – the Problematic Word in Music Therapy with Adolescents in the Child Welfare Services
The word ‘therapy’ is known to be a challenging one in music therapy. This discourse-oriented study asks: how do a group of adolescents and their music therapists in the child welfare services relate to the word ‘therapy,’ and how can music therapy as a profession get round problems connected to the use of it? The data consists of case study material from collaborative interviews of six Norwegian adolescents in out-of-home care and their music therapists in the first author’s ongoing PhD study. Systematic text condensation is used to collect relevant meaning-bearing citations for further discussion and in-depth reflection. The findings show that the word ‘therapy’ creates profoundly negative associations among the informants. In fact, it creates so many difficulties that we actually question if ‘music therapy’ is a fitting label at all. However, because it seems unlikely and even unwise to develop new labels of the well-established ‘music therapy,’ we suggest starting the process of redefining it within the field of child welfare services by engaging in an active and systematic dialogue among all involved.
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