Date of Award

Spring 2-27-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Dr. Michele Forinash

Second Advisor

Dr. Mitchell Kossak

Third Advisor

Dr. Alejandra Ferrer


Little music therapy research has been published on therapeutic presence (TP). This study explored the inclusion of TP in music therapy education. Participants were eight credentialed music therapists who identified as music therapy educators and/or clinical supervisors. They attended one of two focus groups and were asked to submit a 1-minute excerpt of themselves improvising a reflection of their focus group’s discussion. Focus group data revealed four themes: (1) Defining TP; (2) Education and Supervision Responsibilities; (3) TP is Taught Through Experiential Learning; and (4) Learning TP is a Developmental Process. Participants defined TP as simultaneously incorporating both states of being and action. For them, TP was primarily taught in clinical training, including supervision, though is also taught in academic courses through experiential teaching methods. Improvisation data resulted in an original composition, “Therapeutic Presence: Improvisation Collage,” which includes excerpts from all six improvisation recordings. Its elements of tempo, key, dynamics, and instrumentation also reflect the commonalities in the elements among the six improvisations.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.



Number of Pages


Therapeutic Presence Improvisation Collage.pdf (151 kB)
notated score, "Therapeutic Presence: Improvisation Collage"




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