Why Music Therapists Choose to Work with a Clinical Population: An International Pilot Survey

Avi Gilboa, Chava Wiess, Ayelet Dassa, Melissa Mercadal Brotons, Eva Frank-Bleckwedel, Elisabeth Kaczynski, Jiri Kantor, Beate Roelcke, Patricia Sabbatella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


(1) Background: Throughout their career, music therapists make decisions regarding the clinical population they choose to work with. Though such decisions can have broad implications on the professional development of the music therapist, not much is known about the reasons for making these decisions and whether they are affected by demographic or professional factors. (2) Methods: In this pilot study, we surveyed 439 music therapists from six countries (i.e., Austria, the Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Spain, and Switzerland) using an online questionnaire. We asked the respondents to explain why they chose to work with their main clienteles, and we examined whether their reasons were connected to demographic factors such as country of origin, gender, and seniority, and professional factors such as experience as a music therapist and population one works with. (3) Results: The category analysis of these responses pointed at nine distinct reasons that could be grouped into “practical reasons”, “reasons of connection”, and “innovation”. There were differences in reasoning between music therapists from different countries, and with different degrees of seniority, but not between male and female music therapists. (4) Discussion: The implications on training programs and on policy makers are discussed as well as the importance of this subject to the development of music therapists’ professional identity.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9463
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 by the authors.


  • clientele
  • gender differences
  • music therapy
  • online survey
  • population choice
  • professional identity


Dive into the research topics of 'Why Music Therapists Choose to Work with a Clinical Population: An International Pilot Survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this