MUSIC THERAPY IN LITHUANIA
The formation of the rudiments of music therapy took place in the former Soviet Lithuania. At the end of the 1970-ies investigations into the role of music in treating psychosomatic diseases and dysfunctions of the central nervous system were started in the Laboratory of Resort Treatment Research. In 1980-ies some psychiatrists showed an interest in the application of music therapy in psychotherapy. However, historical and economic changes in the country striving for the independence at the end of 1980-ies impeded the succession of music therapy in these fields.
The restoration of Lithuania’s independence in 1990 and all the political and socio-cultural changes challenged the development of music therapy in social-educational field. The main force was the Law on Integration of the Disabled and particularly the ideas of the socialization of special needs people through the arts.
The Lithuanian Association for Educational Music Therapy (Lietuvos ugdomosios muzikos terapijos asociacija)
1997: The Lithuanian Association for Educational Music Therapy was established as a non-governmental organization of specialists interested in applying music therapy methods for the work with special needs people.
1997 – 2007: The Association launched projects covering seminars (244 hours) in music therapy. Well-known music therapists from Norway, Germany, Great Britain, Switzerland and USA delivered lectures and workshops.
1998 – 2000: The Lithuanian Association for Educational Music Therapy in cooperation with the Lithuanian Association of Art Therapy Application implemented a joint project “Program of Psychological Training” on which basis seminars (222 hours) on clinical psychology, social psychology, psychiatry and workshops on drama and movement therapy were held.
1998 – 2003: Seven Lithuanians completed post-graduate education in music therapy at the Sogn og Fjordane University College in Norway due to cooperation with the Norwegian counterparts.
2000 – 2002: Theses on a doctoral degree overlapping the Educational music therapy field were maintained (A.Vilkeliene, 2000; V. Aleksiene, 2001; J.Sinkuniene, 2001; L. Kaciusyte Skramtai, 2002).
2002 – 2007: The Association in collaboration with Lithuanian and foreign partners initiated and fulfilled a number of projects targeted at 1) development of artistic resources and creativeness of physically or mentally impaired persons, 2) communication and cooperation with special needs groups through music media, 3) social integration and health promotion of special needs and disadvantage groups, 4) education of the tolerant and democratic community.
Since 2002 The Lithuanian Association for Educational Music Therapy is a member of the EMTC.
Since last decade the areas, where music therapy is applied, widened and now is used in the psychiatric treatment, psychosocial rehabilitation programs, in special education and socio-cultural programs. An interest for music therapy service increases, although following problems are apparent in Lithuania: 1) absence of unified Music Therapy training program, 2) music therapy is being practised by specialists with different qualification level and 3) use of music therapy methods is to elemental/ spontaneous plus there is a matter of great concern in danger of smattering and amateur. This brings us to necessity for: developing in Lithuania Arts Therapy training program adequate to EU regulations, also registering and licensing Music Therapy and Art Therapy professionals. Therefore the Arts Therapy Work Committee established at the Lithuanian Republic Government Cabinet (Seimas) strives to achieve settled goals. In June of 2006th the Committee was introduced to Project of Arts Therapy (Music and Fine Art Therapy) Postgraduate Studies Program.
Elective courses (an introduction to music therapy) of 2 – 4 credit points integrated in to Music Education, Social Education, Special Education, Preschool & Primary Education and Occupational Therapy programs at the universities of Lithuania.
Arts therapy specialization of 30 credit points integrated in to Social Work Bachelor’s and Social Work Master’s programs at Social Communication Institute, Vilnius Pedagogical University.