Date of Award

Spring 5-21-2022

Document Type


Degree Name

MA - Master of Arts


Expressive Therapies


Dr. Jacelyn Biondo


Though verbal processing is a key component within many music therapy sessions, the current body of music therapy literature does not provide substantial guidelines outlining how music therapists are to cultivate verbal counseling skills and integrate verbal processing with their practices. This thesis critically reviews existing music therapy literature to uncover and integrate ideas from the field regarding the positioning, clinical relevance, and training of music therapist verbal processing skills in clinical practice. Information concerning the uses of verbal processing in music therapy practice, the relationship between the modalities of music therapy and verbal counseling, and the interplay of theoretical orientation with clinical action are reviewed and synthesized. Themes that emerge through this process include: (1) the power of integrating verbal and musical processing modalities to optimize clinical efficacy; (2) the impact of therapist theoretical orientation on the positioning of verbal processing; (3) the importance of remaining within ethical and educational scope of practice introducing verbal processing in music therapy spaces; (4) the need for a standard definition of verbal processing in music therapy; and (5) the need for concrete verbal skills training in music therapy education. Through this examination, twenty-two verbal processing skills are identified, defined, and presented within four developmental categories: skills prior to speaking, skills to structure the session space, skills to guide, and skills to deepen the process. Further development of training and curriculum models for teaching music therapy students and professionals verbal processing skills is recommended.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License




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