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IAMM Book Club – Experiencing Race as a Music Therapist

August 23, 2021 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm EDT


Join us for this talk with Susan Hadley, PhD, MT-BC on August 23rd at 12noon Eastern Daylight Time.

Experiencing Race as a Music Therapist: Personal Narratives is a compilation of critically engaging narratives that grew out of conversations with 17 music therapists living in different parts of the world, from various racial groups, about their experiences of their racialized identities in the therapy setting. The music therapists describe the raced and cultural contexts in which they were born and describe the racial demographics of the places they have lived at various times in their lives. The countries in which the individual music therapists spent their formative years include Australia, Canada, Iran, Japan, Korea, New Zealand, Puerto Rico, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, with many of them also having traveled to other countries.

The music therapists discussed their specific experiences of their racialized identities when they were studying music therapy and how they experienced their racialized identities in their professional lives. Many of them also described the differences they were aware of in terms of how they experienced themselves as raced or how they experienced the therapeutic relationship when they were working with people of their own race compared with working with people who were from a different race. From these narratives, we can see that our life experiences shape how we understand ourselves and others, our assumptions and biases, and the effort with which we form relationships with different groups of people. The music therapists in this book have shared their experiences in the hope that we can learn how to sit in our discomfort, without judgment, lowering our defenses, in order to learn more about ourselves and others, so that we can deepen our understandings and our relationships across racialized lines.

Susan Hadley, PhD, MT-BC, is professor of music therapy at Slippery Rock University, Pennsylvania. She is the co-author, editor, or co-editor of several books including Sociocultural Identities in Music Therapy (2021), Our Black Sons Matter: Mothers Talk about their Fears, Sorrows, and Hopes ​(2016), Experiencing Race as a Music Therapist (2013), Therapeutic Uses of Rap and Hip Hop (2012), Feminist Perspectives in Music Therapy (2006), Narrative Identities: Psychologists Engaged in Self-Construction (2005) and Psychodynamic Music Therapy: Case Studies (Barcelona, 2003). She is currently co-editing a book on Colonialism and Music Therapy. She has published numerous scholarly articles, chapters and reviews,serves on the editorial boards of several journals, and is co-editor-in-chief of Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy and Qualitative Inquiries in Music Therapy.


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