Fredrik Berntsen Due and Claire Ghetti

Implementation of Music Therapy at a Norwegian Children’s Hospital: A Focused Ethnographic Study

Fredrik Berntsen Due, Claire M. Ghetti


The profession of music therapy is experiencing a period of expansion in Norway, with the establishment of new positions occurring in a variety of health contexts. One area that is poised for continued growth is music therapy within medical contexts, and in paediatric hospitals, in particular. There are various ways in which new music therapy positions are developed within paediatric hospitals, and studying these implementation processes can provide valuable insight. In this study, we use a focused ethnographic approach to explore how different members of the interdisciplinary team experience the implementation of music therapy in a children’s hospital, including the present and the former music therapist. We consider how the music therapist has positioned herself within the established hierarchy, what leadership and other healthcare personnel have done for/against this new profession, and which elements have helped or hindered the process of implementation. Data collection and analysis consisted of reflecting upon and analysing: 1) the first author’s participation in music therapy praxis on a paediatric medical unit, 2) fieldnotes from field observations within the children's hospital, and 3) semi-structured interviews with interdisciplinary staff. Main findings suggest that given support from leadership and a consultative/advisory workgroup, it was rather straightforward to start up a music therapy practice within this particular children's hospital, but it was more complicated to formally and informally fully integrate music therapy in the interdisciplinary team.


music therapy; implementation; focused ethnography; organizational theory

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