Toward a queer music therapy: The implications of queer theory for radically inclusive music therapy ☆

Research paper by Candice L. Bain, Patrick R. Grzanka, Barbara J. Crowe

Indexed on: 14 Jun '16Published on: 13 May '16Published in: The Arts in Psychotherapy


Interest in music therapy with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) individuals has increased in the last decade, and the distinctive needs of the community have been acknowledged through the publication of LGBTQ best practices in music therapy (Whitehead-Pleaux et al., 2012). Developing competencies around LGBTQ issues in music therapy is more complex than simply including, or incorporating, diverse sexual orientation, and gender identity issues, into an existing disciplinary framework, that has an historical hostility towards non-normative sexualities and genders. The challenges of conducting music therapy with LGBTQ populations within community settings has been documented in few sources, and this lack of attention in the existing music therapy literature has inspired an interdisciplinary framework by which to consider these challenges. First, we introduce and survey key developments in queer theory. Second, we explain how queer theory may complement and challenge recent developments in inclusive, and social justice-based, music therapy approaches. Then, we outline several potential therapeutic approaches with LGBTQ youth that reflect queer theory. Finally we discuss the broader implications of queer theory for music therapy, with the intent to move the field toward a radically inclusive approach to therapy with LGBTQ clients.