Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)


Music Therapy

First Advisor

Feilin Hsiao

First Committee Member

Eric G. Waldon


This thesis examined a phenomenological inquiry into the lived experiences of music therapists in a metropolitan city in the United States. During the study, five music therapists were interviewed about their self-care practices and experiences with burnout. Data included a recorded Zoom transcription of the 30–45-minute open-ended interview. The data was analyzed through Moustakas’ (1994) cluster of themes approach. Four themes emerged from the data analyses of the interviews: living/working in a metropolitan city, self-care practices, advice for entry level music therapists, and knowledge of and experience with burnout symptoms. Respondents associated living and working in a metropolitan city with challenges such as complex transportation, high costs of living, lack of recognition of the music therapy profession, and limited networking opportunities. However, they also shared positive aspects such as cultural diversity and having an active lifestyle. The respondents displayed high levels of engagement with their self-care habits across the following five domains: emotional, physical, mental, social and spiritual. Their advice to entry level music therapists emphasized developing work boundaries, finding networking opportunities, and dedicating time for self-care habits. Implications for music therapy clinicians, educators, students, and further research are also given.





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