Some say NC music therapists should have a license

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — More and more, music is being used as a method to help train the mind.

Many patients who have certain disabilities or mental health conditions are now turning to music therapists.

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But currently, music therapists do not need to have a license in North Carolina. Many in the industry are turning to the General Assembly to change that.

“There are people who are going into a lot of nursing facilities and hospitals saying that they’re music therapists and they don’t have the bachelor’s degree,” said Allison Hingley, a therapist with Atlantic Music Therapy.

“They haven’t completed the six-month internship. We’re not recognized in this state as the highly qualified professionals that we are.”

Freddy Perkins is a music therapist with Voices Together in Durham. He helps provide group therapy sessions for kids and adults with autism and developmental disabilities.

“It’s a big deal being able to say, this is who I am or this is how I’m feeling or to just start a conversation with someone,” said Perkins. “We use music as a tool to help engage them socially.”

Under House Bill 192, the state would start would issuing licenses for music therapy through a recreational therapy board.

“People are starting to understand we are something that’s evidence-based,” said Perkins. “We are something that can do good for other people.”

Supporters said if music therapists are licensed, it also would help with insurance-related issues.

The bill passed in the House late in the session. Its supporters hope it also will pass the Senate next year in the short session.

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