Hungarian Music Therapy Association

Magyar Zeneterápiás Egyesület (MZE)
60 members

Country Representative

Rita Kárpáti

Music Therapist

I have been a music therapist since 2021.

My main field of work is with adults with acquired brain injuries and the Syndrome of Korsakoff in long-term care.

I currently work as a Music Therapist in a specialist residential facility in The Hague and as a musician and music educator in Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Contact me at

Discover more about Music Therapy in Hungary

The first application of music therapy in Hungary was organised for emotionally disturbed children receiving psychosomatic therapies in 1875. The significance of music as a therapeutic tool became recognised step by step. This process was also positively influenced by the work and theories of Hungary‘s famous composers, Béla Bartók and Zoltán Kodály. There were several attempts to use music therapy in special institutes and psychiatric facilities, but those were isolated from each other. The first meeting of professionals working with music in clinical settings took place in 1980 in Visegrád, where the theory of music therapy was discussed by physicians, psychologists and music teachers. Since then the dialogue amongst professionals involved in music therapy has been developing: conferences, demonstrations and workshops have been organised and music therapy was on its way towards becoming a recognised proffession. A music therapy category was formed within the Hungarian Psychiatric Association in 1986 and later on music therapy became gradually integrated in the annual conferences of psychology. The First National Music Therapy Conference was organised in 1988 in Budapest. The political turn of the year 1989 created more opportunities to build up international music therapy connections. The growing interest in music therapy led to the formation of two Hungarian music therapy associations: the Albert Schweitzer Music Therapy Association in Pécs was founded by Attila Sasvári in 1992, and the Hungarian Music Therapy Association was founded by Ildikó Konta and chaired by Katalin Urbán Varga in 1994.

There is diversity in music therapy practice throughout Hungary. This is due not only to the different paths that therapists, teachers and musicians have each come to various clinical settings, but also to the various theoretical underpinnings of their original training. The two music therapy courses bring some unity regarding the divergent theoretical frameworks, as they both regard music therapy mainly from a psychodynamic perspective, but on the other hand, psychodynamic theory rarely addresses music therapy work with people who have special needs. A developmental focus is more common for that area.

There is an ongoing dialogue about what music therapy is and what it can be. Is it music psychotherapy? Is it a sociotherapy? Is it a developmental method? What music therapy is, is likely to depend on the therapist’s competencies. A music therapy degree in itself does not give a person the right to work in any field. The competence of music therapists depends on their original qualification. Those who come from special needs backgrounds can use music therapy in that field, whereas only psychologists have the right to employ music therapy in mental health settings. Working as a music therapist also requires wearing several hats, working with several therapy methods. So the question is not only about what music therapy is. It is also about who we are as music therapists. And do we really need an identity and state registration?

Music therapyi s listed in the nomenclature of professions in Hungary, but there is not any law or other regulation regulating the application of music therapy. There is no state authority in charge of keeping records of music therapists in the national registry, and a national registry of music therapists made by professional associations is also needed. The state regulates music therapy education standards (accreditation for universities, recognition for professional associations, and music therapists educated abroad). The candidates who have started studying studying music therapy according to the EMTC minimum standards abroad are eligible for continuing their studies in Hungary but the music therapy curriculum is not fully harmonised with the EMTC standards. Music therapy is classified within the medical services in the area of alternative medicine and music therapists having the status of medical associates or an allied medical profession.
The current economic situation in Hungary does not favour the employment of music therapists in the public health sector. The lack of state registration and regulation is rather detrimental to the profession. Some hospitals and institutions employ self-acclaimed practitioners or nurses as “music therapists” rather than trained clinicians or qualified music therapists. There are some music therapists, however, employed in health institutions, state and private hospitals, clinics, doctor’s offices, rehabilitation centres, school and pre-school institutions, counselling centres, social protection centres (geriatric centres, care centres for persons with special needs, prisons), churches, and some have established a music therapy studio on their own. The state and the professional associations do not control or regulate the work of a music therapist although there are regular meetings and conferences where qualified music therapists have the opportunity to share their professional experiences with each other. It is equally a difficult and exciting period for music therapy in Hungary. The growing number of qualified music therapists creates the opportunity for music therapy to become a more recognised profession. Our identity as music therapists is strengthened by the academic qualifications that music therapy students acquire, yet we are far from having a fully developed professional identity.

There are three postgraduate part-time courses in the country: in Pécs at the Liszt Academy of Music in collaboration with the Medical School of Pécs, in Budapest at the Special Needs Faculty of the Eötvös University and at the University of Miskolc. In the last few years as many as 60 therapists received their qualification. Many of them had been working in the field already. In addition to these postgraduate courses, music therapy modules are offered at the undergraduate level at the University of West Hungary, the University of Debrecen and the Special Needs Faculty of the Eötvös University in Budapest.

Special Needs Faculty of the Eötvös University, postgraduate course:

Special Needs Faculty of the Eötvös University, 120 hours self experience:

University of Pécs:

University of Miskolc:

E-mail address:
Phone number: +36 46/343-800


Forgács, E. (2002). Zeneterápia a magyarországi gyakorlatban [Hungarian Music Therapy in Practice]. Dissertation Budapest: Bárczi Gusztáv Faculty of Special Needs.

Kokas, K. (1992). A zene felemeli a kezeimet [Music raises my hands]. Budapest: Akadémia Kiadó.

Konta, I., &Urbán – Varga, K. (1993). Hungary. In Dileo Maranto, C. (Ed.), Music Therapy International Perspectives (pp. 263-279). Pipersville, Pennsylvania: Jeffrey Books.

Konta, I. (2001). A Magyar Zeneterápiás Egyesület rövid története [History of the Hungarian Music Therapy Association]. Rehabilitatio – 2001./11.évf./3. Budapest: Szent Margit Kórház.

Varga, Á. & Kollár, J. (2015) Approaches: Music therapy in Europe: Paths of professional development . Special Issue 7 (1) 2015;