Media and Entertainmaint Skill

Music Therapist

In a world where media often reflects the spectrum of human experiences, it’s no surprise that the role of music therapists occasionally finds its way onto the screen or into the pages of a novel. Music therapists, skilled in the art of using music as a therapeutic tool, play a crucial role in helping individuals address emotional, cognitive, and social needs. Their presence in media serves not only to educate the public about this profession but also to showcase the profound impact music can have on mental health and well-being.

Portrayals in Film and Television:

One notable portrayal of a music therapist in media comes from the film “Music” directed by Sia. Released in 2021, the film follows the story of an autistic teenager named Music and her sister Zu, who becomes her guardian. Music, portrayed by Maddie Ziegler, finds solace and communication through music, which is where the character of a music therapist comes into play. Kate Hudson’s character, Zu, seeks the help of a music therapist, portrayed by Leslie Odom Jr., to better understand and connect with her sister. While the film received mixed reviews, it brought attention to the use of music therapy as a tool for individuals with autism.

Another example can be found in the popular television series “Grey’s Anatomy.” In Season 15, Episode 19 titled “Silent All These Years,” viewers are introduced to a music therapist named Brie, portrayed by actress Kali Rocha. Brie uses music as a means of communication and healing for survivors of sexual assault. Her character demonstrates the power of music in helping individuals process trauma and find their voices again. The portrayal sheds light on the vital role music therapists can play in supporting survivors of trauma.

Literary Representations:

Music therapists also find their way into the pages of literature, offering authors a rich opportunity to delve into the complexities of human emotion and healing. In Jodi Picoult’s novel “Sing You Home,” the protagonist, Zoe Baxter, is a music therapist who uses her profession to connect with her clients on a profound level. The novel explores themes of loss, infertility, and the transformative power of music in navigating life’s challenges. Through Zoe’s character, Picoult highlights the therapeutic potential of music and its ability to transcend words.

Another compelling literary representation of music therapy can be found in “The Music Shop” by Rachel Joyce. Set in a rundown record store in London, the novel tells the story of Frank, the owner, who has an extraordinary gift for prescribing the perfect piece of music to soothe his customers’ woes. Although Frank is not a trained music therapist, his intuitive understanding of the emotional resonance of music mirrors the principles of music therapy. The novel celebrates the healing power of music and its ability to forge connections between individuals.

Challenges and Misconceptions:

While the portrayal of music therapists in media can bring attention to the profession, it’s essential to recognize that these representations may not always accurately reflect the reality of the work. One common misconception perpetuated by media is the idea that music therapists are simply musicians who play soothing melodies for their clients. In reality, music therapy is a highly specialized field that requires extensive training and clinical expertise.

Additionally, media portrayals may oversimplify the therapeutic process or present unrealistic outcomes. While music can undoubtedly have profound effects on emotional well-being, the therapeutic journey is often complex and nonlinear. It’s crucial for viewers and readers to understand that music therapy is just one component of a comprehensive treatment plan and may not be a panacea for all mental health issues.

Furthermore, the lack of diversity in portrayals of music therapists in media is a significant concern. The majority of characters depicted in film, television, and literature tend to be white, middle-class individuals, which does not accurately reflect the diversity of both music therapists and their clients. It’s essential for media creators to be mindful of representing the profession in a way that is inclusive and representative of the broader population.

The Impact of Accurate Representation:

Despite these challenges, accurate and sensitive portrayals of music therapists in media can have a positive impact on public perception and awareness of the profession. By showcasing the diverse contexts in which music therapy can be applied, media can help break down stigmas surrounding mental health treatment and highlight the importance of creative interventions.

Moreover, media representations can inspire individuals to explore music therapy as a career path or seek out music therapy services for themselves or their loved ones. By shining a spotlight on the transformative potential of music, these portrayals can encourage conversations about the integration of arts-based approaches into mainstream healthcare.


The presence of music therapists in media serves as a reminder of the profound impact music can have on healing and well-being. Whether portrayed in film, television, or literature, these representations provide glimpses into the multifaceted nature of the profession and its ability to foster connection, expression, and transformation. While challenges and misconceptions persist, accurate and sensitive portrayals have the power to educate, inspire, and advocate for the importance of music therapy in promoting mental health and healing in individuals and communities alike.