This article will describe developments in the Chilean music therapy scene from 2002 to the present. For more general and historic information please see the initial text on Music Therapy and Chile submitted to Country of the Month in 2002.

Perhaps the most important new development in Music Therapy in Chile has been the founding of the Asociacion Chilena de Musicoterpia (ACHIM) in the beginning of 2006. The association currently has approximately 30 members, almost all of them graduates from our music therapy graduate program. Actually ACHIM is working hard on developing ethical guidelines and also on a process for the accreditation of music therapists in Chile. This latter issue is especially important as there are still people practicing what they call «music therapy» without having ever studied music therapy. Another related task of the association is to educate the public and other professionals about Music Therapy and to define what is to be considered Music Therapy in Chile and what is not. These issues are particularly important when you consider that before too long there will likely be more than one place to study Music Therapy in Chile. There is already one private university which recently introduced training in «Therapy in Arts», with one group of students specializing in Music Therapy and the other in Art Therapy. We expect other private universities to follow suite.

After starting our Music Therapy Post Graduate Program the first Music Therapy Symposium was held in 2000 (I mentioned this already in the initial text in 2002) with a second in 2003 which included such excellent international speakers as Mercédès Pavlicevic from South Africa, Eckhard Weymann from Germany, Christine Tuden from Galvestone, Gabriela Wagner, president of the World Federation of Music Therapy, Diego Schapira and Patricia Pellizzari from Argentine and Lia Rejane Mendes Barcellos from Brazil. The program of both these symposiums mostly consisted of presentations by Argentinean and Brazilian music therapists.

Also new in 2003, was a visit from Eckhard Weymann, who arrived four weeks before the Congress as a visiting professor, holding classes and conducting seminars with the students and teachers from the Music Therapy Postgraduate Study Course. One of his main topics was morphological music therapy, a relatively new theoretical framework based on morphological psychology, adapted and developed for music therapy in Germany in the 1980s by Weymann, Rosemarie Tuepker, Frank Grootaers, and Tilman Weber. This topic did not a main focus merely by chance, as I studied morphological music therapy in Germany between 1988 and 1991 before arriving in Chile. So together we were able to practice music therapy assessment and describe music therapy improvisation using a morphological perspective.

In 2004 we invited Joseph Moreno from Maryland University to lead a seminar in Music Therapy and Psychodrama. In 2005 the German music therapist, Peter Maul taught us music therapy interventions from a social perspective. More recently, in November 2006 Patricia Pellizzari from Argentina gave a seminar on Community Music Therapy. This marked the first occasion that our Music Therapy Program at the University of Chile worked together with ACHIM to organize an event. The organization of the III Congreso Latinoamericano de Musicoterapia is now our second challenge, much bigger than this first one.

Since 2004, after having participated in the II Congreso Latinoamericano de Musicoterapia in Montevideo, Uruguay we have now agreed to host the III Congreso Latinoamericano de Musicoterapia in Santiago de Chile in 2007. This will take place from July 17th -21, and as a result there is a heightened feeling of greater responsibility for the development of music therapy in our country. There will be two days of pre-conference, workshops held by Andres Brandalise and Marly Chagas of Brazil, and Diego Schapira from Argentina. We are also pleased to have Even Ruud from Norway as a keynote speaker. Of great importance for us is the participation of Chilean music therapists. Even though our number is small (of almost 60 papers 6 are Chilean) we are pleased to be hosting and participating in this event. (The information of the Congress is available on

In 2005 the Art Department at the University of Chile and Universidad Nacional de Bogotaformed a partnership for inter-institutional cooperation which should be an interesting opportunity for both countries. There will be student exchanges and guest visits from professors. There has already been a video conference between the Universities, and on the first day of the congress there will be a video conference with Dr. Amador from the Universidad Nacional de Bogota about the impact of music on the neuropsychological system.

It has been seven years since the start of the postgraduate program at the University of Chile, and Music Therapy continues to grow slowly but steadily from one year to the next. Since that time almost forty women and men have graduated from the program. The students are between 25 and 55 years old and come from the various fields of psychology, music, medicine, education and special education. One of the valued and integral components of our program involves the personal development of the music therapist. This is explored in courses such as group improvisation, body music therapy, piano improvisation and clinical guitar playing. A new development for our program is the integration of art therapy students in some of the courses with music therapy students, for example, Psychology of Arts, Psychopathology, and Institutions and Community. The results of this blending have been very positive. The students get to know each other and are able to discuss the differences between the creative therapies. They work on projects together involving both art and music. The Art Therapy Program is three years younger than the Music Therapy Program and has the same structure which is four semesters, with one being a practicum. Our future intention is to begin a Drama Therapy Program, may be a Master of Art Therapies including the three dimensions at the Facultad de Artes de la Universidad de Chile.

With regard to the employment situation in Chile graduates from the program are finding work in a variety of areas of Music Therapy. Some of our students have found work with children in neurologic rehabilitation, special education and public mental health services. But it is difficult to find stable and well paying work. The institutions are not familiar with music therapy and there are no funds for a profession which is not recognized or registered with the Ministerio of Education. We hope that the III Congreso Latinoamericano de Musicoterapia contributes to greater recognition of Music Therapy in Chile.


How to cite this page

Bauer, Susanne (2007). Update of Music Therapy in Chile. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. Retrieved July 03, 2012, from

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