Community music therapy and the process of learning about and struggling for openness | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 7, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1752-6299
  • E-ISSN: 1752-6302



In this article I attempt to understand bits of the ongoing change that the emerging movement of community music therapy (CoMT) reflects and instigates, through an exploration of processes of learning about and struggling for openness. I argue that change involves painful unlearning and challenging relearning and I examine this claim through discussion of three moments of change in my own relationship to CoMT. I focus on three moments that happened to emerge with a ten years distance (in 1983, 1993 and 2003). The first moment I call ‘Towards an open door’ and it reflects unlearning and relearning in relation to a more contextual and ecological practice of music therapy. The second moment I call ‘Towards a more open discourse’ and it reflects the unlearning and relearning necessary for a more grounded yet interdisciplinary discourse of music therapy. The third moment I call ‘Towards an open floor’ and it reflects the need for an ongoing, international, and critical debate on the assumptions, values, and priorities that characterize contemporary music therapy. Through reflections on these three moments, I try to depict interrelationships of theory and practice as well as interrelationships of music therapy and broader sociocultural–political forces. I particularly focus on how CoMT has created new possibilities for music therapy to dialogue and debate with the medical discourses that dominate contemporary health care services in most societies.


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