Spirituality and transcendence in music therapy: A narrative review of the literature
Introduction: There is an emerging interest in spirituality in the field of music therapy. This project explores the state of knowledge on spirituality and transcendence in music therapy practice exploring the research question “How do music therapists discuss (or do not discuss) moments of transcendence in their practice?”. Method: A narrative review of the English literature was conducted to identify, critically analyse and synthesise literature related to transcendence in music therapy. Literature was limited to accessible publications in the English language from music therapy journals, bibliographic databases, electronic databases and books from year 2000 to 2020. Results: The conclusions reached referring to the stated research question “How do music therapist discuss spirituality and transcendence in their practice?” are discussed under two sections: Spirituality in music therapy practice; Moments of transcendence in music therapy. The first section reports music therapists’ voices on spirituality under two subsections: a spiritual approach to life experience provides meaning to suffering and enhances hope; the relevance of spirituality to music therapy practice as a way to address the person as a whole. The second section is explored around five emerging themes: magical moments; a sense of connection; a state of worship and meditation; an experience beyond space and time; a mystical dimension. Discussion: Authors in the field of music therapy have reported a spiritual approach to suffering brings meaning and hope to the individual. This seems paramount to our practice as music therapist, as working with each individual’s spirituality and beliefs can support the clients’ process of finding meaning, experiencing hope in their difficulties and transcending suffering. Working with the individual’s spirituality and beliefs may be a venue to working with the person’s resources and journeying alongside the client. Further investigation on spirituality and music therapy is encouraged, and further education on spirituality in music therapy programs is suggested.