What is BMT asbl?
The BMT asbl was founded in March 1998 driven by the fourth European Congress of Music Therapy, organised in collaboration with the European Music Therapy Confederation (EMTC), that took place in the very same year at Leuven, Belgium.

The association meets the need to unite and support Belgian professional music therapists. The statutes of BMT asbl are based upon the statutes of EMTC and count as admission conditions. The music therapists subscribe by their membership these statutes and the corresponding ethical code. You can receive the text of these statutes by contacting BMT asbl.
BMT asbl has as a goal to compose a register of acknowledged music therapists. Depending from the degree, number of hours of self experience, supervision and clinical experience, one becomes student member, candidate member, or full member or supervisor. Only music therapists with a Master degree in Music Therapy can become full member of BMT asbl.

BMT asbl sees it as its task to negotiate with government agencies concerning the protection of the profession. In this the registration of graduate music therapists, the collaboration with EMTC and more specifically with the European Commission for Registration of Music Therapists (EMTR), and with the Master training in Music Therapy plays an important role.

BMT asbl also offers legal assistance to its members.

Some of our members work in a private practice. To guarantee professional support, uniformity and quality the Commission for Music Therapists in an Private Practice was founded.

BMT asbl also has founded an Ethical Commission. This commission sees to the correct implementation of the complaints procedure, that earlier was developed by BMT asbl to guarantee the quality of the work of registered members and to protect the interests of their clients.

BMT asbl provides its members of a half yearly Journal for Music Therapy and organises a yearly General Assembly. Driven by and with financial support of BMT asbl different regional intervision groups are organised which members can join, and this under supervision of skilled and experienced supervisors. BMT asbl invests in her website (www.muziektherapie.net), maintains contact with national and international supervisors and stimulates participation in congresses.

As a member of the European Music Therapy Confederation (EMTC) BMT asbl plays an important role on the European level. The board of BMT asbl sends a chosen representative as delegate for Belgium to the meetings of EMTC.

BMT asbl guarantees the professional quality of music therapy. She warrants the organisation of training by means of workshops, lectures, study days and the enlargement of an network of group supervision. The association stimulates literature by publishing its half yearly journal amongst others, and works together with LUCA School of Arts, campus Lemmensinstituut.

Furthermore stimulating scientific research is an important goal for BMT asbl. We consider it of great importance to closely follow up recent developments in music therapy. Belgium counts one doctor in music therapy: Prof. Dr. Jos De Backer. Other young music therapists are now following his footsteps. BMT asbl supports and encourages its members to further research, to writing scientific articles, to contact foreign trainings and to consult international databases.


What is music therapy?
Depending on the country where the profession is practised and on the training offered, music therapy is defined in several ways. Underneath you find among others the definition of music therapy as it is practised in Belgium, but also definitions from other European countries. Like this we try to give you a completer picture of what music therapy means in Belgium and throughout Europe.

'A form of music-centred psychotherapy, a client-therapist exchange through musical improvisation or music listening.  It aims to make possible an analytical therapeutic process.  The psychodynamic therapeutic frame is based on theories of Freud, Winnicott, Klein, Bion and others. Interventions include use of transference, countertransference, holding, containment, projective identification and free-floating attention.  Other music therapeutic phenomena include therapeutic provocation, anticipating inner silence, musical reverie and post-resonation, with the aimto reduce of eliminate psychic suffering, conflicts, disorders and related complaints.  Clients unable to actively participate in improvisation (because of strong defences, aphasia, dementia, motor restrictions, etc.) can find the musical improvisation present based on their affective resonance. This stance both widens and provides evidence for the unique significance of music therapy for psychological health needs traditional psychotherapy cannot address.  Psychic problems are given shape in musical form.  On this musical-symbolic level, the process of musical improvisation or music listening occurs in tandem with verbal reflection.  This offers the possibility of conscious or unconscious layers of the psyche to tap often untapped frontiers seen as a prerequisite for positive therapeutic development.' (De Backer, J. (2013). Psychodynamic music therapy. In: Kirkland K. (Eds.), International dictionary of music therapy . London and New York: Routledge, 104-104.)

“Within the Music Therapy Law, music therapy is defined as an autonomous, scientific-artistic-creative and expressive therapeutic approach. It is the conscious and intentional treatment of people suffering from emotional, somatic, mental or social behaviour disorders and diseases, by employing musical media within a therapeutic relationship between one or more clients and one or more therapists with the following aims:
to prevent, reduce or remove symptoms,
to change behaviours or attitudes in need of treatment,
to support and maintain or to restore the clients development, maturation and health.
Music therapy is indicated in the fields of health prevention, treatment of acute and chronic diseases, rehabilitation, encouragement of social competences including supervision, as well as training and research” (Mössler 2008)

“Music therapy is an approach in psychotherapy in which music and musical improvisation are applied for intentional mediation of the body-mind-emotion connection in the process of experiencing and awakening to the consciousness of experiences, aiming at bringing positiveness, health and personal development .“

“Music therapy is the systematic use of music within a therapeutic relationship which aims at restoring, maintaining and furthering emotional, physical and mental health. Music therapy is a practice-oriented scientific discipline which is closely connected to other scientific disciplines, especially medicine, social sciences, psychology, musicology and pedagogy. Music therapy is an overarching term for different music therapy concepts which are psychotherapeutic in nature, in contrast to pharmacological and physical therapies. Different music therapy methods are respectively based on different psychological, psychotherapeutic or philosophical traditions, such as depth psychology, behaviourism, systemic, anthroposophical or holistic-humanistic approaches.”
(Kasseler Thesis of Music Therapy, 1998)

"Music therapy is the structured use of music, sound and movement to obtain therapeutic goals aimed at the restoration, maintenance, and development of mental, physical, and emotional health. In a systematic manner, a specially trained individual uses the properties and unique potentials of music and sound, and the relationship that develops through musical experiences to alter human behavior, to assist the individual to use his fullest potential, to communicate his uniqueness and to increase his well-being."

“Music therapy is the scientific application of music for therapeutic purposes (Strobel, Huppman, 1991); it is the application of music and tools of its expression (sound, rhythm, melody, harmony, dynamics, etc.) in either individual or group relationships between a music therapist and a patient/client with the purpose of establishing and advancing relationships, communication, learning, cognition, mobility, expression, activity, or physical, mental and social health of an individual, thus encouraging their potential development and /or rejuvenation of functions and achieving a better quality of life.”

„Music therapy is a health care profession carried out by the qualified music therapist, helping people to improve (to maintain, restore, enhance) health through the use of music/ musical communication and the therapeutic relationship. Music therapy is an interdisciplinary profession that integrates music therapy, music, medicine, psychology, psychotherapy, special education and social work disciplines of knowledge and practice issues.
Music therapist - a person, in accordance with the requirements of formal music therapist who has acquired professional qualifications and meeting the requirements. The music therapist is a health care professional.”

„Music therapy consists in using music to further, to develop and to re-establish people’s physical and mental balance. It mobilises resources and its aim is to optimise the quality of life through dealing with problems on a different level or through supporting a healing process. As a non-verbal means of expression and communication, music appeals to people’s emotions; it stimulates cognitive as well as social and creative abilities, which will in turn allow the person to deal with the conflicts and challenges in life.
Due to the different parameters of music, music therapy, whether active and/or receptive, generates intra-psychic and relational processes. According to the respective need, a qualified music therapist approaches these processes in verbal or non-verbal, in individual or group therapy sessions.
Music therapy is a form of psychotherapy. Depending on the various schools and on the music therapist’s own training, the methods used will be based on psychodynamic, behavioural, systemic, holistic-humanist and integrative concepts.”

The Netherlands
“Music therapy is a methodical form of treatment in which musical means within a therapeutic relationship is managed, to establish change, development, stabilization and acceptation  on an emotional, behavioral, cognitive, social or physical level.”

„Music Therapy:  Procedures which include using of music which is prepared  to increase and /or sustain  physical, emotional, psychosocial, behavioral, sensitive, cognitive, communicative, cultural, spiritual. developmental, musical and/or related  needs of client defined during process of examination/evaluation.  It excludes as techniques: behavioral,  cognitive-behavioral and psychodynamic therapies.”

“In general music therapy is seen as an expression oriented psychodynamic treatment containing different methods. They have in common the use of musical elements (including breath- and body perception) within the therapeutic relationship to restore, preserve and promote psychic, mental and physical health.”  In addition, referring to Kasseler Thesis of Music Therapy, Germany (1998)

United Kingdom
“Music plays an important role in our everyday lives. It can be exciting or calming, joyful or poignant, can stir memories and powerfully resonate with our feelings, helping us to express them and to communicate with others.
Music therapy uses these qualities and the musical components of rhythm, melody and tonality to provide a means of relating within a therapeutic relationship. In music therapy, people work with a wide range of accessible instruments and their voices to create a musical language which reflects their emotional and physical condition; this enables them to build connections with their inner selves and with others around them.
Music therapists support the client’s communications with a bespoke combination of improvised or pre-composed instrumental music and voice, either sung or spoken. Individual and group sessions are provided in many settings such as hospitals, schools, hospices and care homes, and the therapist’s approach is informed by different theoretical frameworks, depending on their training and the health needs which are to be met.”

Estonia, Greece, Hungria and Italy
These countries refer to the definition of the WFMT (1996):  „Music Therapy is the use of music and/or it’s musical elements (sound, rhythm, melody and harmony) by a qualified music therapist, with a client or group, in a process designed to facilitate and promote communication, relationships, learning, mobilization, expression, organization and other relevant therapeutic objectives, in order to meet physical, emotional, mental, social and cognitive needs. Music Therapy aims to develop potentials and/or restore functions of the individual so that he or she can achieve better intrapersonal and/or interpersonal integration and, consequently, a better quality of life, through prevention, rehabilitation or treatment.”

Collected by M. Nöcker-Ribaupierre 2013