Greece

EMTC Member Associations

Hellenic Association of Professional Music Therapists

Ελληνικός Σύλλογος Πτυχιούχων Επαγγελματιών Μουσικοθεραπευτών (ΕΣΠΕΜ)
71 members

http://www.musictherapy.gr/

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Sonora

15 members

www.sonora.gr/

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Country Representative

Mitsi Akoyunoglou

Music Therapist

I have been a music therapist since 1987. My main field of work is teaching music therapy, music pedagogy and psychology of music courses at the University. I currently work at the Department of Music Studies, Ionian University in Corfu.

Contact me at mitsiako@gmail.com

Discover more about Music Therapy in Greece

Music therapy is a contemporary profession and discipline in Greece. Over the past twenty five years an increasing number of people have been trained and became certified music therapy practitioners. Today, there are approximately fifty certified music therapists practicing in Greece (Tsiris & Kalliodi, 2020) and the profession is in a formative stage of its development. Music therapy in Greece is offered to a range of populations and settings. According to the statistics of 2008 (Papanikolaou, 2011), almost 60% of the music therapists work in special educational needs settings, 30-40% work in mental health, and less than 10% work in medical and hospital settings. More than 70% of music therapists practicing in Greece are part-time employed, and the majority of them are concentrated in large urban areas. There has not been, since 2008, more recent relevant statistics (Tsiris & Kalliodi, 2020). Music therapy in Greece is not a registered profession, has not achieved State recognition yet, and music therapy services do not form part of the official national health system.

Nevertheless, recent significant facts are contributing to the development and establishment of the profession: music therapists have managed to create posts in public hospitals, a number of private music therapy practices have been established, introductory music therapy modules in undergraduate programs at State Universities are offered and, since 2016, a two-year Master’s program in Music Therapy is available at the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki (Akoyunoglou-Christou et al., 2019; Tsiris & Kalliodi, 2020).

Despite ESPEMS’s efforts to raise the issue with the State, music therapy in Greece is not a registered profession yet, and further developments on legislative, educational and research level remain crucial for the growth of music therapy as a profession and discipline (for more detailed information on this issue, see Tsiris & Kalliodi, 2020). ESPEM plays a significant role in coordinating the actions needed for the development of the profession in Greece. News regarding music therapy in Greece (such as upcoming conferences and other events, publications) can be found on the website of ESPEM, as well as in the journal Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy.

Definition of Music Therapy: Music therapy in Greece (according to the standards of the Hellenic Association of Certified Professional Music Therapists, ESPEM) is defined as “an established health profession in which music is used within the framework of a therapeutic relationship with goals that aim at physical, emotional, intellectual, and social needs of people. It includes the clinical, research-informed and evidence-based use of musical interventions in order to achieve individual and/or group goals by a certified music therapist who has completed an approved music therapy program” (ESPEM, 2019).

Since there was no Music Therapy academic program offered by a Greek University before 2016, most music therapists have been trained in various educational settings abroad, with the majority having degrees from the UK and the United States. From 2016, there are a number of music therapists who have completed the Master’s program that is offered by the University of Macedonia. Additionally, music therapists in Greece have been trained in a range of approaches, with the psychodynamic, music-centred, and humanistic approaches being most prevalent (Tsiris & Kalliodi, 2020). There is also a number who have had post-qualification training in Neurologic Music Therapy, NICU Music Therapy, Guided Imagery and Music and Vocal Psychotherapy. This variety of educational backgrounds and approaches reflects the rich diversity of theoretical and professional backgrounds that music therapists in Greece bring to their practices.

Since there was no Music Therapy academic program offered by a Greek University before 2016, most music therapists have been trained in various educational settings abroad, with the majority having degrees from the UK and the United States. From 2016, there are a number of music therapists who have completed the Master’s program that is offered by the University of Macedonia. Additionally, music therapists in Greece have been trained in a range of approaches, with the psychodynamic, music-centred, and humanistic approaches being most prevalent (Tsiris & Kalliodi, 2020). There is also a number who have had post-qualification training in Neurologic Music Therapy, NICU Music Therapy, Guided Imagery and Music and Vocal Psychotherapy. This variety of educational backgrounds and approaches reflects the rich diversity of theoretical and professional backgrounds that music therapists in Greece bring to their practices.

The Special Education Act which was ratified in October 2008 is the first (and only until today) Act in Greece which mentions music therapy as a professional title (for details see Official Journal of the Hellenic Republic, 2008). This Act outlines a series of qualifications that one needs to have in order to be employed and practice as music therapist in public special education settings. However, the Act has serious shortcomings regarding qualifications standards required, which are not in alignment with the standards set for the profession in Greece by ESPEM.

Consequently, one may be regarded as “qualified” to practice as a music therapist according to the Special Education Act 2008, but may not meet the standards set by ESPEM and therefore be unable to register as a member of the Association. According to ESPEM’s constitution, a full member has to be qualified abroad from a state registered institution and this certification gives the person the right to practice in the country of qualification. Furthermore, the Act’s section that refers to music therapy has been inactive since 2008. Also, despite the ratification of the Act in 2008, music therapy has not been officially recognized as a profession by the State yet, and ESPEM is still working towards State registration (for further details regarding the Act and its impact on music therapy profession in Greece, see Tsiris 2011b and Tsiris & Kalliodi, 2020).

Since 2016, a two-year Master’s program in Music Therapy is being offered by the University of Macedonia in the city of Thessaloniki. Apart from that, Music therapy is offered as an introductory, mainly elective, module within the wider curriculum of Music or Education University Departments. There are classes at the Department of Music Studies, Aristotle University in Thessaloniki with supervised clinical work of students and at the Department of Music Studies of the Ionian University in Corfu run by qualified music therapists. The position of Lecturer of music therapy in Special Education at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki was established in 2010 and is the first official music therapy position to open in a Greek State University – a fact that paves the way for the profession’s recognition by the Hellenic State. Additionally, Sonora, a multidisciplinary organization for music therapy & research, in collaboration with the IMAGEing-European GIM programs and with the Germany-based IMAGO Institute, offers trainings in GIM and in Music and Imagery in Greece (Tsiris & Kalliodi, 2020).

Although research activity is limited in Greece, it is in a developing stage. Research funding is needed because the development of research in music therapy appears to be essential for the future development of the profession in Greece. Despite the lack of research, there is a peer-reviewed journal which is dedicated to the field of music therapy, Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy. Approaches is a biannual open access publication with both Greek and English being the official languages of the journal (http://approaches.gr/).

  • Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy (online peer-reviewed journal), http://approaches.gr/
  • Hellenic Association of Certified Professional Music Therapists (ESPEM), www.musictherapy.gr
  • Sonora: a multidisciplinary organization for music therapy & research, http://sonora.gr/
  • The proceedings of the 1st one-day conference of the Hellenic Association of Certified Professional Music Therapists (ESPEM). In the journal: Approaches: Music Therapy & Special Music Education, Special Issue 2011, http://approaches.gr/special-issue-2011/

Notes: [1] Originally, the Association was named as the Hellenic Association of Qualified Professional Music Therapists (ESKEM), but in the summer of 2009 its name changed to Hellenic Association of Certified Professional Music Therapists (ESPEM) (for details see Tsiris, 2011a, 2011b).

References: Akoyunoglou-Christou, M., Etmektsoglou, I., & Papanikolaou, E. (2019). Music therapy: A brief report on education. In L. Giotis, D. Maravelis, Α. Pantagoutsou & Ε. Giannouli (Eds.), The contribution of arts psychotherapies to psychiatric treatment (pp. 356-359). Vita Publications.

ESPEM (2019). Music therapy: Information and proposals for the recognition of the profession. https://sites.google.com/view/musictherapy-gr/%CE%BF-%CE%B5%CF%83%CF%80%CE%B5%CE%BC

Official Journal of the Hellenic Democracy (2008). Law 3699 “Special Pedagogy and Education of Individuals with Disabilities or with Special Educational Needs”. 199/ vol. A’/02.10.2008.

Papanikolaou, Ε. (2011). Music therapy in Greece: Facts and developments. In the proceedings of the 1st one-day conference of ESPEM. Approaches: Music Therapy & Special Music Education, Special Issue 2011, 9-13.

Tsiris, G. (2011a). Music therapy in Greece: Developing indigenous knowledge and research. In the proceedings of the 1st One-Day Conference of ESPEM. Approaches: Music Therapy & Special Music Education, Special Issue 2011, 5-6.

Tsiris, G. (2011b). Music therapy in Greece. Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. https://voices.no/community/index.html?q=country-of-the-month%252F2011-music-therapy-greece

Tsiris, G. & Kalliodi, C. (2020). Music therapy in Greece and its applications in dementia and end-of-life care. Special Feature: Music therapy in dementia and end-of-life care: Mediterranean perspectives, Report published online October 17, 2020 (First View).