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How does my training as an applied behavioural analysis practitioner influence my development as a Music Therapy student?

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posted on 15.09.2021, 21:39 by Manere, Anthony

The current study is attempting to answer the research question “the impact my previous ABA training may have on my current practice as a must therapy student?”. The goal of this study is to gain insight on my own clinical practice in order to develop a more well-rounded therapeutic approach. I used a secondary analysis of session notes from my student music therapy placement at an intermediate school. A deductive content analysis was used to explore data within separate categories underpinning either humanistic or behavioural approaches. The data collected into these categories was qualitatively considered to create themes and to support how behavioural methods manifest in my current practice. The study assumes that a behavioural way of thinking is already present in my practice and seeks to investigate how has also manifested in my professional identity. The study acknowledges that although the field of music therapy can take on a variety of different therapeutic approaches, the training that I have received at Victoria University of Wellington has a largely humanist emphasis.

Overall, the study found that the use of either behavioural or humanistic approaches are situationally dependent on the client, activity, or therapeutic goal. In both goal setting, and musical choice, there was a spectrum of attitudes falling between the theories while other methods such as therapeutic relationship or prompting held a unique perspective falling into one or the other. I feel that the use of dual methodologies in my practice compliment the limitations and advantages that each approach may present. As these approaches both fall on opposite ends of the “theoretical spectrum”, they pair to create a middleground between a holistic, client-centered practice, and a tightly structured, goal-oriented practice.

KEYWORDS:Music therapy, behaviourism, humanism, principles, content analysis, secondary analysis, deductive, qualitative


Advisor 1

Warren, Penny

Copyright Date


Date of Award



Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Rights License

Author Retains Copyright

Degree Discipline

Music Therapy

Degree Grantor

Victoria University of Wellington - Te Herenga Waka

Degree Level


Degree Name

Master of Music Therapy

Victoria University of Wellington Unit

University Library

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code


Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Research Masters Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

New Zealand School of Music