Croatian Association of Music Therapists

Hrvatska udruga muzikoterapeuta (HUM)
50 members

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Country Representative

Ksenija Buric

Music Therapist

I have been a music therapist since 2008. My main field of work is clinical practice with children and young people with developmental and intellectual difficulties and as a lecturer at the Catholic University of Croatia. I currently work in the music school Schola Musica and at the Catholic University of Croatia.

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Discover more about Music Therapy in Croatia

The field of music and medicine in Croatia has been scientifically developed since 17th century when Dr. Gjuro Baglivi (1668-1707) documented the therapeutic use of music in his book “De Praxi Medica”. Not long after, Julio Bajamonti (174-1800) wrote about “Physician and Music” (Andreis, 1974).

At the beginning of 20th century music was implemented as a treatment at the Psychiatric Hospital “Vrapče “ and at University Hospital “Sestre milosrdnice” by Dr. Hudolin. This field of music and medicine was further elaborated and developed by Dr. Breitenfeld, who was one of the co-founders of the Croatian Physicians Music Society (CPMS) in the year 1971. The role of CPMS was to promote the field of medicine and music. To date the CPMS has organized five international Medicine and Music Symposia concerning the fields of music in medicine, overuse injuries of musicians and notable composers’ pathography reviews (Breitenfeld et al, 2010).

Although, this development of music in medicine in Croatia was enormously important, it was not enough to set up the good quality standards for the establishment of the music therapy profession. Bearing this in mind, the Music Academy started a one year training course in Music Therapy in Zagreb in the year 2000, but actually the program overview reflected misconceptions about music therapy. The training course offered knowledge and skills in using music in psychiatry, with the treatment delivered by medical staff using classical music with no regard to client populations or client needs. The training course lasted only for couple of years, but it created many issues for professional identity in music therapy, such as the published professional papers which claimed that: (1) A music therapist is actually a music teacher; (2) The knowledge of a music therapist is based on the knowledge of music teacher and that (3) There are not specific music therapy skills.

In the year 2002, Mrs.Slavica Bevanda, professional musician and music teacher with additional background in music therapy, established the Association of Music Therapists. The Association was active for seven years in organising workshops (held by music therapists from abroad) and promoting the appropriate features of music therapy, but then terminated its work in 2009.

At the same time, music therapy was included in the Special Education and Social Care laws. Despite its inclusion, no state registration for the profession has been achieved to date. Nevertheless, the Republic of Croatia has started to employ music therapists in special schools and in rehabilitation facilities. In 2011, 30 professionals from different fields were employed as music therapists in Croatia, with no formal education in music therapy. So, two questions arose from this situation: (1) Where are the music therapists educated? and (2) Which professional qualifications do they need to have? It was evident from State regulations that every music teacher could be hired as a music therapist, which actually was the case. Furthermore, professionals from different fields (rehabilitation, psychology, occupational therapy, special education, speech pathology, social work, psychotherapy), with some music education or skills, were also considered tp have the necessary qualifications to be hired as music therapists by the State.

As an answer to the emerging need to protect the identity of the music therapy profession and to develop an educational program for professionals “who were hired, but felt lost as music therapists” and in order to support ongoing clinical practice, the Croatian Music Therapy Association (CMTA) was founded in 2012 in Zagreb by professional music therapists.

CMTA is dedicated to the development and promotion of music therapy in Croatia. It supports the development of educational programs, clinical practice and research that contribute to the foundation of music therapy as a scientific discipline in Croatia. The aim of the association is to develop and expand the theory and practice of music therapy by establishing the standards of music therapy (MT) education and standards of MT practice.

The music therapy model mostly used in Croatia is based on theoretical backgrounds such as behavioural and humanistic approaches.

Corresponding with the attitudes of humanistic psychology Orff music therapy is used with children with a variety of difficulties.

The therapy model based on neuroscience – neurological music therapy (NMT), is used in rehabilitation for children and adults.

Aalborg University offers a five year, full-time MA degree course in music therapy, and is linked to the Music Therapy Clinic at Aalborg Psychiatric Hospital that is established as a center for treatment and research. The permanent staff includes two full time professors and six full time associate professors. In addition the team includes four part-time lecturers, two postdocs and about 15 PhD students.

The MA program qualifies students to practice music therapy at a clinical and scientific level. Students are trained to work within multi-disciplinary teams in institutions in Denmark or abroad. The program gives equal weight to academic study, personal development, musical training, scientific research methodology and clinical skills. The program was founded on a broad psycho-dynamic and humanistic basis encouraging an integrative approach.

Elements in Training Programme:

  • Musical skills: Musical and clinical approach to vocal, instrumental and keyboard improvisation. Musical repertoire.
  • Self experience: Individual and group training in the therapy process. Clinical experience at different institutions.
  • Theoretical skills: Music psychology, general psychology, theory of science, theory of music therapy.
  • The 5th year includes a full time clinical trainee period for one semester, followed by one semester’s supervision of the Masters’ theses.

The international Doctoral Programme and the research milieu at Aalborg University has developed since the first doctoral students were enrolled in 1992. The programme offers PhD education within the science of music therapy. The doctoral students are trained in a stimulating international research milieu and meets twice a year in Aalborg for one-week courses where they work with the peer group, invited presenters and the supervisors. With a majority of international scholarship students, the program has a strong global orientation and partnership with front research milieus. International liaisons are fostered through well-established consortium partnerships, research networks and proficient data collection sites. The goal of the Doctoral Programme is to train researchers with sufficient theoretical, technical, methodological and applied clinical research knowledge in the field of music therapy research to assure scientific rigor. For more information, please visit:

The Analysis of Connection Between Child’s Musical Improvisations and Expression in Visual-Art Terms

Ksenija Burić, Branko Nikolić, Miroslav Prstačić Hrvatska revija za rehabilitacijska istraživanja, Vol.49 No.1 June, 2013. HRČAK (eng.) PDF

Application of music therapy with children on autistic spectrum disorder

Ksenija Burić, Ana Katušić
Hrvatska revija za rehabilitacijska istraživanja , HRRI VOL..48 No 2/2012 HRČAK (eng.) PDF

Zastosowanie muzykoterapii u dzieci z autyzmem

Ksenija Burić, Ana Katušić
Terapii przez Sztukę, Lublin, Polska, VOL. 1 (3) 2011 WEB PDF

The effect of Orff Music approach on postural mehanism with a child with cerebral palsy

Ksenija Burić ,Tomislav Ljutić, Dajana Bulić
 Umjetnost i znanost u razvoju životnog potencijala /Hvar, 2004/ WEB

Correlation analysis between musical-rhythmical improvisation and visual art expression in child

Ksenija Burić 
Edukacijsko rehabilitacijski fakultet u Zagrebu, 2009.

Music improvisation as a form of music therapy in early intervention with children with social communication difficulties

Ksenija Burić
, Edukacijsko rehabilitacijski fakultet u Zagrebu, 2012. PDF Applications of Music therapy in cardiovascular rehabilitation Ana Katušić, Ksenija Burić, Mario Ivanuša Cardiologia Croatica, 2018

Applications of Music therapy in cardiovascular rehabilitation
Ana Katušić, Ksenija Burić, Mario Ivanuša
Cardiologia Croatica, 2018