Finnish Music Therapy Association

Suomen musiikkiterapiayhdistys
191 members

Country Representative

Hanna Hakomäki

Music Therapist

I have been a music therapist since 1990. My main field of work is with children with psychosocial and neuropsychiatric disorders and with their families. I currently work in child psychiatry at Helsinki University Hospital in Finland.

Contact me at

Discover more about Music Therapy in Finland

Finnish music therapists are rather well employed as in the service of various institutions, and on private sector. Finnish social insurance institution is still one of the main funder of music therapy although it has tighten the criterions year by year. For instance, everybody producing services for the SIIF has to fulfill many criterions in terms of education, facilities of the privat clinic, patent safety insurances, etc. Every year there seems to be more forms to be filled up as well as more control concerning everyday clinical work. Working in multidisciplinary teams has been stressed – there is a tendency to get therapists ‘out of the box’ and open up their work to other professionals and decision makers.

In terms of recognizion there is not much improvement. The most probable way to improve this process seems to be to join in the camp of psychotherapists and to modify the trainings in this direction. However, the process of developing new standards for the whole psychotherapy profession, with its various forms, has dramatically slowened down and it seems to be rather complicatedissue with many tensions for the politicians. Meanwhile, nothing has really changed the circumstances of the music therapists.

The current trend in research in our country is that it must have connections to society. All the projects that really serve the aims, comprehensible for ‘big audience’, or other ways look like relevant from societal aspect easily get attention from Finnish media. From this point of view music therapy has been very lucky during the last few years. For instance, two 30 minute TV-documentaries on music therapy have recently been made. The quality is very good because they were produced by the state-funded Broadcast company. Very probably this kind of publicity will serve the recognition process as well.

After a few silent years there are some ‘awakenings’ in terms of clinical training. University of Jyväskylä is still having the master program. In Jyväskylä, the Eino Roiha institue (closely connected to JYU) is continuing clinical training. The Carelia Polytechnic, which was not taking new students for few years is now beginning music therapy training again. There is also a new opening in Oulu (Northern Finland) where they have created a new concept (in Finnish system) called music psychoterapy training. It imitates fully the quidelines of psychotherapy training and the head trainers (in charge)come from the psychotherapy field. It is an attempt to ‘ride on psychotherapy horse’ without too much stress on the previous music therapy training as the entrance requirement.

Not all the members of the music therapy community are happy with this trial. Anyway, it can be seen as a counter-response for the ever lasting recognizion process. Within the Universiy of Jyväskylä there is a project aimed at creating a new PhD training common for all the psychoterapy models existing there. The idea of this project is to create a generic, high-level training model for psychotherapy, where both clinical and research aspects are taken into account. This is in line with the proposal of the expert-council set by the Finnish parliament. Music therapy is strongly involved in this project. Let us see how it goes on.

The biggest improvements have happened in this area. After finishing the first large scale, funded project (Academy of Finland), music therapy is now involved in a new interdisciplinary research project, funded by the EU. This project started on July this year and will last for the next 3 years. The project is based on the collaboration of music cognition people, music psychologists and music and brain researchers. We do (music therapy section in the project) aim at running EBM-based study of the effect of music therapy in the treatment of brain lesion patients.