Editorial: The lived experience of music therapy

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Editorial: The lived experience of music therapy


Shoemark, H. (2016). Editorial: The lived experience of music therapy. Australian Journal, of Music Therapy, 27, i-ii. Retreived from http://www.austmta.org.au/journal/article/editorial-lived-experience-music-therapy


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Date published: October 2016

The articles in this edition exemplify the vibrant diversity of interests in the field but find a real focus in understanding the meaning of experience for therapists and their clients. In Jin’s study of music therapists’ experiences working with asylum seekers, we learn more about the cultural sensitivity and competency issues for music therapists working in a rapidly evolving field. Eta Lauw reflects on the sensibility of establishing relationships for music therapy with older Chinese adults in Australia.  This builds particularly on the work of Thomas and Sham (2014) delving further into the implicit levels of human interaction as a cornerstone in therapy.

Music therapy as a career is challenging, so our identification of factors which contribute to satisfaction and well-being are key to retaining qualified clinicians in the field. Lee, Davidson and McFerran recognise that music therapists reconfigure their identity in relation to each client, and this intrinsic person-specific process leads to mutual benefit for client and therapist.  Pek & Grocke tackle the multifarious roles of spirituality and religion in music therapy practice, and recommend that in reflexive practice, clinicians should account for the influence of their own beliefs on how they process their work.

Finally, Bibb, Castle and Newton complement their existing research (Bibb, Castle & Newton, (2015) about music therapy as an effective technique to support meal times for with young people with anorexia nervosa.  This report of their qualitative findings, provides a platform to feature the voices of clients to value their lived reality, beyond the statistical data. 

This is my final edition as Editor of AJMT.  In the five years of my involvement as associate editor, guest editor and finally Editor, the journal has purposefully redefined its relevance to the profession and the wider public. The journal is newly aligned with the AustMTA’s commitment to being a leader in the debate about the roles for music in our communities. The Association’s new campaign RMTs Change Lives (www.rmtschangelives.com.au)uses animations of lived experiences about music therapy, so more people can grasp what a registered music therapists actually is, and does. Likewise, our new journal will have a plain statement of what each article is about so someone unfamiliar with reading our journal can get a quick snapshot of what is in the article. We will also feature information about the authors, so people have a real sense of who it is that does this research and writing.

      From this edition onward, AJMT is an online Open Access journal. Anyone from the Prime Minister to your next door neighbour will be able to access the full edition and eventually the full archive of AJMT. Being Open Access, our commitment is that there will be no cost to users and authors alike.  It was important that the dismantling of privileged access to the finished journal didn’t also come at the cost to authors.   Further to this change in availability, we have also re-calibrated the journal as a destination for the work of early career researchers and clinical researchers. This provides a place for good quality research which might not find a home in the larger journals. The AJMT reviewers are renowned for their generous reviews, providing the optimal feedback to encourage authors to fulfil the potential of their manuscript.  I am grateful for this collegial action and thank this year’s reviewers for their expertise which is pivotal in achieving a high quality journal.

Finally, my thanks to Imogen Clark for her quiet and steadfast work as Associate Editor.  I leave the journal in her capable hands as the new Editor of AJMT.



Bibb, J., Castle, D., & Newton, R. (2015). The role of music therapy in reducing post meal related anxiety for patients with anorexia nervosa. Journal of Eating Disorders, 3(5). doi: 10.1186/s40337-015-0088-5

Thomas, A. & Sham, F. (2014). "Hidden rules": A duo-ethnographical approach to explore the impact of culture on clinical practice.  Australian Journal of Music Therapy, 25, 81-91.