Reconsidering the Dominant Narratives of the Music Therapy Profession for the Future


  • Dr. Katrina McFerran


Music therapy theory, intersectionality, ableism, post-humanism


Music therapy has always been a research-based profession that is informed by theory. However, many of the theories that we rely on were proposed nearly half a century ago. This paper, which was presented as a keynote to the Canadian Music Therapy Association in 2020, provides one answer to the question of what theoretical perspectives we might privilege if the profession were established now, instead of at that time. Critical theories including intersectionality, post-humanism, and post-ableism are highlighted and practical suggestions are made about how these perspectives would alter the way we describe our practice as music therapists.

Author Biography

Dr. Katrina McFerran

Katrina McFerran is Professor and Director of Research Training in the Creative Arts and Music Therapy Research Unit at The University of Melbourne in Australia. Her research has been with and about youth, and has focused on uses of music that promote well-being across different contexts. She is also committed to open access and has created a free Massive Open Online Course called How Music Can Change Your Life (Coursera) as well as being past editor of the open access journal





Reflection Papers