Cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults within Australian music therapy practices.

Cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults within Australian music therapy practices.

Abstract

The health of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island people is underrepresented within music therapy literature. An essential first step is to ensure that programs are culturally safe so that effective therapy services value the client’s own cultural identity. Cultural safety is “the effective delivery of services to people from another culture, as determined by individuals and groups from that culture” (Saggers, Walter, & Gray, 2011, p. 18) and ensures appreciation and embracing of the client’s culture. The aim of this article is to increase the consideration of cultural safety within music therapy programs accessed by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, and evaluate the potential for culturally safe music therapy programs by examining a pilot program that the author was a part of as a non-Indigenous music therapy student. Participants in the pilot program were 13 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander adults with a variety of chronic diseases. Findings of the study demonstrated that music therapy has the potential to be a culturally safe services for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults when implemented with ongoing reflection and strategic development. Openness to diverging from western cultural norms, and creating partnerships with clients, community, and culturally safe organizations were central to ensuring culturally safe practice in this pilot program and are recommended for future programs.

 

Keywords: Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, music therapy, cultural safety, culture


Citation

Truasheim S. (2014). Cultural safety for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander adults within Australian music therapy practices.  Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 25, 135-147.


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Date published: July 2014