"How Do You Write Your Music Therapy Goals and Objectives?”: Seeking Canadian Perspectives


  • Nicola Oddy Concordia University and Carleton University
  • Annabelle Brault Concordia University


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.

Author Biographies

Nicola Oddy, Concordia University and Carleton University

Nicola R. Oddy is a voice-centred music therapist, providing internship and professional supervision. She teaches at Carleton University and Concordia University and is a PhD candidate in Cultural Mediations at Carleton University, exploring how free vocal improvisation can remove barriers between an individual and the space around them. Her work has been published in Voicework in Music Therapy: Research and Practice (2011), in the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy, and in Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy.

Annabelle Brault, Concordia University

Annabelle Brault is a resource-oriented music therapist, musician, researcher, and educator. She is a full-time music therapy lecturer at Concordia University, graduate of the MA in Creative Arts Therapies, and the Editor, French Content of the Canadian Journal of Music Therapy. She works as a music therapist in an afterschool program for autistic young adults and for a community agency offering support for caregivers of older adults.





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