Latvian Association of Music Therapy

Latvijas mūzikas terapijas asociācija
53 members

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Country Representative

Katie Roth

Music Therapist

I have been a music therapist since 2016. My main field of work is with children with emotional, social and behavioural difficulties. I currently work in my local school and with referrals from social services.

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Discover more about Music Therapy in Latvia

The most significant years in the development of music therapy in Latvia

2003: The first training course for music therapists in Latvia commenced at the former Liepaja Academy of Pedagogy (now known as Liepaja University, LiepU).

2003: Before the foundation of the Latvian Music Therapy Association and the implementation of a training programme, work on the development of a professional standard for music therapy had begun.

2003: The professional standard development work group began its work and gained recognition.

2005: The Latvian Professional Association of Music Therapists (LMta) was founded. At this time the umbrella association of the Latvian Association of Arts Therapies also existed.

2006: A training programme started in Rīga Stradins University (RSU).

2006: A joint standard for an art therapy specialist (of music and art therapies) was agreed.

2006: The Ministry of Education and Science accepted the title of the profession – art/music therapy specialist.

2009: Professional standards were approved in the legislation.

2009: The Latvian Music Therapy Association was established in the Latvian Association of Rehabilitation Professional Organisations.

2010: The Law of Professional Qualifications and Required Education in Healthcare was supplemented.

2010: Art (music) therapy was registered as a medical technique.

2012: The title of art (music) therapist was included in Medical Treatment Law as a functional specialist.

In compliance with professional standards, music therapists in Latvia can work in the fields of social care, healthcare, education, in private practice and organisations requiring the service of arts therapies (on an individual, group or organisational basis).

The Latvian Music Therapy Association has close cooperation with the Latvian Arts Therapy Association, with which it has common professional standards, description of profession, and code of ethics.

A music therapist in Latvia is a professional with a medical education according to the Medical Law of the Republic of Latvia.

People often ask about how Latvia achieved recognition so quickly. In a presentation to the World Federation of Music Therapy in November 2021, Katie Roth, the Latvian Country Representative said this:

“Firstly, for Latvia, the time was simply right. We gained independence in 1991 and the 90s were a time of huge upheaval as we transitioned politically and economically. However, in the first decade of the 21st century there was an opportunity for new ideas, new ways of doing things and new regulation, especially as we joined the EU in 2004. In a way, as a country, we were able to start from scratch, from a blank slate, and so there was an openness to creating something different to what had gone before.  At this critical moment in history three other factors came together:

One factor was collaboration, both within Latvia and overseas. Within Latvia, the four art therapies associations were established and developed separately by enthusiasts in each field, but they came together in 2007 as the Joint Association of Latvian Art Therapy Associations. This gave strength in numbers and a louder, more powerful voice in negotiating with the government.

Another factor involved the right PEOPLE at the right time. In particular, there were two strong personalities, Kristīne Mārtinsone, a psychologist and art therapist, and Mirdza Paipare, a music educator and the pioneer of Latvian music therapy, who invested themselves with passion and perseverance to achieving recognition.

The final factor was that these Latvian pioneers were supported and encouraged by many experts from overseas,including Germany, the UK and Sweden. There were many others who contributed to our amazing, and relatively rapid success story. So we are both proud of ourselves for this achievement and hugely grateful to everyone who helped us.”

There are two master’s level training programmes in Latvia:

  1. Liepāja University
    This is a 3-year, part time course.
  2. Rīga Stradiņš University
    This is a 2.5 year course, one of four specialisms within the Arts Therapy programme.
    There is also a five month, once a week, preparatory course in Arts Therapy for students who have not had previous education in a healthcare-related field.