OBSERVATIONS ON TURKEY FROM THE EYES OF MERCADAL-BROTONS, THE PRESIDENT OF THE WORLD FEDERATION OF MUSIC THERAPY (WFMT)
Observations on Turkey from the eyes of Mercadal-Brotons, the president of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT)
It was a pleasure, as President of the World Federation of Music Therapy, to participate as a speaker at the “Second International Traditional and Complementary Medicine Congress” on 24-27 April 2019 in Istanbul. To represent the discipline of Music Therapy in such a prestigious event, was an honor as well as a big responsibility.
The program incorporated a beautiful balance of theoretical presentations, workshops and exhibitions. It was enlightening to learn about the big variety of traditional and complementary approaches and the emphasis on evidence-based practices by their current practitioners as well as the Turkish Ministry of Health. And of course, to witness Music Therapy among them, very satisfying.
I have worked as a clinician, teacher, and researcher within the field of music therapy for over 30 years and have had the opportunity to be a part of and witness the development of the music therapy profession in different parts of the world. These experiences have taught me to celebrate two things. First, it is important to praise the many layers of diversity that exist among all of us, such as the various theories and approaches to research, cultural intricacies, training backgrounds, therapeutic methodologies, and the many languages through which we express ourselves. To embrace all, these layers of diversity require openness and an ability to listen, connect, and work together. The growth, organization and professionalization
of Music Therapy continues across the
Second it is also important to celebrate the oneness that we have together. Many commonalities exist across in the 8 regions of the globe encompassed by the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT), many more than we often perceive. One of them is the persistence of the professional music therapists to represent the discipline as an evidence-based intervention and advocate for the advancement and recognition of the field as an independent discipline with a specific professional profile. I was very pleased to attend the session moderated by the President of the Turkish Music Therapy Association, Doç. Dr. Burçin Uçaner Çifdalöz. In that session three different professional music therapist pioneers in Turkey (Özgür Salur, Aslı Özyıldız, Duygu Duran Orlowski) presented their beautiful work while showing an admirable commitment towards the developing of the field in Turkey so that meets international standards.
The growth, organization and professionalization of Music
Therapy continues across the world. Subsequently, topics related to training, current situation, future prospects and viability for professional regulation are addressed in many countries from different perspectives, and this is also the case in Turkey.
Music therapy in many Mediterranean countries of South Europe (Croatia, Cyprus, France, Greece, Israel, Italy, Serbia, Spain and Turkey) present its characteristics and complexities. In most of these countries, professional music therapists have been present and active in clinical contexts for several years, and the professional associations are actively involved in contacting and communicating with their governmental institutions to promote and/or improve the recognition process of music therapy in their countries, work which is supported by the European Music Therapy Confederation (EMTC). The diversity is also reflected in the music therapy profession which presents itself in different stages of development in each of the countries in regards to: number of professionals, training courses, professional associations, number and type of facilities which offer music therapy services, populations served by music therapists, recognition of the profession, research activity and production, music therapy specific publications. And this brings up another issue: the challenge of diversity, tensions and contradictions in the field of music therapy in a given country. However, these challenges can also be looked as an opportunity for current as well as future music therapists in these countries. On the other hand, the current challenges and struggles music therapists face in these countries where the profession is in its infancy stages, are the overall lack of awareness of what music therapy is, sustainability of practice, and having no standardized guidelines to support practice. It’s enlightening for the WFMT to learn from those stories in order to help promote the field in the best way possible in the Eastern Mediterranean.
Events such as the “Second International Traditional and Complementary Medicine Congress” are always enriching and motivating since they foster discussion and collaboration and welcome dialogue. In addition, it is an opportunity to meet professionals from other countries and learn about their work while highlighting some common elements and patterns. Meetings, working group discussions, coffee breaks, walks and dinners – all have offered opportunities for exchange, debate, and mutual support. This international professional group who gathered in this occasion certainly highlighted the diverse landscape of music therapy across cultures, bringing to the fore varied histories and paths of professional development, as well as financial and political priorities and needs.
As president of the WFMT, attending and presenting in these types of events, it is an opportunity to talk about the World Federation of Music Therapy, and also reaffirms why the WFMT exists and what it can offer to assist all these music therapy pioneers who work persistently to advance in the development and growth of music therapy in their own countries. When we work together we can accomplish much. Dr. Melissa Mercadal-Brotons, Prof, PhD, MT-BC, SMTAE
After her bachelor degrees in Psychology at Universidad de Barcelona, and in Music at Conservatorio Municipal de Barcelona, she completed her studies for a master's degree in music therapy at The Florida State University, and a doctoral degree in music teaching at the University of Oregon. From 1988 to 1998 she worked as a music therapy professor in Oregon, USA, provided training sessions, conducted research studies and offered clinical services on music therapy and dementia at Willamette University.
Currently, she is the coordinator for research studies and master programs at Esmuc (Escola Superior de Música de Catalunya) in Barcelona. Also, she holds office as the professor of music teaching department, and as the administrator of the master program in music therapy.
She is the President of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT), and the representative of the European Music Therapy Confederation (EMTC) for Spain. She has a number of national and international publications particularly on music therapy in dementia.
“Manual de Musicoterapiaen Geriatría y Demencias: Teoría y Práctica”
[Manual of Music Therapy in Geriatrics and Dementia] (co-written with Patricia Martí) (2008) Ediciones Montsa-Prayma “Musicoterapia en Medicina: Aplicaciones Prácticas”
[Music Therapy in Medicine: Applications for Practice](2010)
“Música, Musicoterapia y Discapacidad” [Music, Music Therapy and Disability]
(2012) Editorial Médica JIMS