How Dangerous Is an Unlicensed Music Therapist?
Legislators will ask themselves this question tomorrow when they consider House Bill 189. Music therapy is a type of treatment that involves creating, singing, moving, or listening to music. It is often used to treat children with developmental disabilities such as Autism. While groups like the American Music Therapy Association seek to elevate the status of music therapists, it is unclear whether or not obtaining a license would actually help a music therapist become more effective.
The Southeast Missourian reported that supporters of music therapy say that untrained music therapists are harming clients. The article did not discuss what kind of harm was being inflicted. It’s difficult to imagine that the creation of music could ever be harmful. Still, Missouri legislators are considering a bill that will make people obtain a special certification to practice music therapy.
As Show-Me Institute analysts have pointed out, certifications create unnecessary barriers to entry, ultimately limiting access for consumers to important services. Studies on occupational licensing have shown that when the government institutes a program like the one House Bill 189 is proposing, the cost of services increases.