Music Therapy Advocacy in 2013

By January 22, 2013Front Lines

Introduction: Advocacy –> Recognition –> Access

Since 2005, the American Music Therapy Association and the Certification Board for Music Therapists have collaborated on a State Recognition Operational Plan. The primary purpose of this plan is to get music therapy and our MT-BC credential recognized by individual states so that citizens can more easily access our services. The AMTA Government Relations staff and CBMT Regulatory Affairs staff provide guidance and technical support to state task forces throughout the country as they work towards state recognition. To date, their work has resulted in over 35 active state task forces, 2 licensure bills passed in 2011, 1 licensure bill passed in 2012, and an estimated 7 bills being filed in 2013 that seek to create either title protection or a licensure for music therapy. This month, our focus is on YOU and on getting you excited about advocacy.

The marvelous people leading this advocacy campaign presented a theme for this year’s project: CONNECT with Music Therapy. The letters in CONNECT stand for:

C=Cooperation
O=Objective
N=Nurture
N=Nuance
E=Exchange
C=Coordination
T=Timing

These are all important concepts as we move forward in the push for state recognition. How do we cooperate with one another to make progress on our objectives? How do we cooperate with other professions, especially those that feel threatened by the prospect of state recognition of the music therapy credential? How can we utilize our clinical skills of attentive listening and empathy to nurture important relationships?

With regard to nuance, it appears that each state might benefit from a slightly different approach. What form of recognition makes the most sense in your state? How do we pick up on these nuances and, importantly, communicate them to other professionals working toward the same goal? Exchange of ideas and information, as well as the coordination of efforts, are essential. For example, I know the task force in my state (Iowa) has organized a hill day scheduled for February 26th. I would love to hear about events in other states, as well as what kinds of things you did to prepare.

As was shown with states who have achieved state recognition, the timing can be unpredictable. It might happen in a whirlwind of activity or it might be something that’s worked on for a long, drawn-out period.

By keeping these ideas in mind, we might efficiently advance the status of music therapy. Kudos to the leaders in state task forces and to the government relations experts at the national level. It seems like a daunting task (because it is!), and I’m proud of those who have risen to the challenge!

Hug an advocate!

Best,

Matt Logan

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