Music therapy internship as developmental journey: Qualitative and Arts-based inquiry



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The aim of this research was to investigate the development of therapeutic identity and reflexivity within intern music therapists (IMTs) through qualitative and arts- based inquiries. This researcher utilized a First-person research (FPR) approach to explore an album of seven songs created longitudinally throughout his seven-month music therapy internship as part of a creative arts supervision group. This qualitative inquiry involved an inductive lyric analysis from a grounded theory approach combined with an investigation of each song’s musical elements as informed by intertextual and concept album analyses. These individual analyses and their combination resulted in the creation of a theoretical model of the researcher’s Emotional, Cognitive, Relational, Formative, and Therapeutic development as correlated with musical development from a sense of Creating Safety to Sonic Exploration. The findings also provided a model of reflexive practice for use by interns and professionals. The researcher then explored the developmental journey of the music therapy internship through an Arts-based research (ABR) methodology involving a performative focus group of intern and professional music therapists. This experiential analysis further illuminated the findings of the qualitative inquiry while also revealing new insights into reflexivity and vulnerability as powerful, clinical resources. Finally, the researcher discusses the entire research process as influential in developing his therapeutic philosophy of the music therapist as relational and musical accompanist.



Music therapy internship, Intern development, Therapeutic identity, Reflexivity, Creative arts supervision, Qualitative, Arts-based research