SOP 09: Potential For Harm

Music therapists are uniquely trained to implement evidence-based treatments that will serve and not harm their clients. Although the possibility of harm through music seems counterintuitive to some individuals, well-intending musicians without the required knowledge, skills, training, and experience may pose risks to vulnerable populations, such as premature infants, children with special needs, veterans of war with post-traumatic stress, or family members in hospice. “Music therapists, therefore, participate in continued education to remain competent, know their limitations in professional practice, and recognize when it is appropriate to seek assistance, advice, or consultation, or refer the client to another therapist or professional… To protect the public from threats of harm in clinical practice, music therapists comply with safety standards and competencies such as, but not limited to: Recognize and respond to situations in which there are clear and present dangers to a client and/or others; Recognize the potential harm of music experiences and use them with care; Recognize the potential harm of verbal and physical interventions during music experiences and use them with care; Observe infection control protocols (e.g., universal precautions, disinfecting instruments); Recognize the client populations and health conditions for which music experiences are contraindicated; and Comply with safety protocols with regard to transport and physical support of clients.”