"How Do You Write Your Music Therapy Goals and Objectives?”: Seeking Canadian Perspectives
Keywords:music therapy, goals, objectives, Canadian perspective, diversity, qualitative goals, quantitative goals, music therapy education
The purpose of this exploratory research was to begin to understand how experienced Canadian music therapists write goals and objectives and to learn how the language we use reflects one’s therapeutic relationship with clients and the contexts in which we practise. The formation of goals and objectives as part of treatment planning is often considered to be an integral part of the work of music therapists, as seen in mainstream literature as a whole and—more specific to this study—in the practicum handbooks provided by Canadian music therapy training programs. To gain insight into how Canadian music therapists write their goals and objectives, a descriptive qualitative survey research design was used and responses from 19 experienced Canadian music therapists were analyzed using thematic analysis. A literature review of published music therapy writing and university teaching materials was completed. The study uncovered 19 ways that Canadian music therapists write—and do not write—goals and objectives, which correlates with the great diversity of music therapy practice in Canada. Six themes emerged when examining the respondents’ articulation of goals and objectives: the viewpoint of the therapist; the use of the word “will”; the direction of the therapeutic process; the use of qualitative, quantitative, and/or music-centred perspectives; the choice to not write goals and objectives; and the therapist’s use of domains. Study findings are discussed and ideas for further research are suggested.