Recognition: Latvia

In 2006 the Ministry of Education and Science approved the professional title, “Art/Music Therapist”.

In 2009 the professional standards were approved in legislation.

Music Therapy is recognised as one of four specialisations within Art Therapy, the others being Visual-Plastic Art Therapy, Dance and Movement Therapy and Drama Therapy.

The recognition of music therapy as a profession is not connected to a training program at a specific institution. Music therapists who have successfully completed any master’s degree course that meets the standards set in legislation may practise, subject to additional requirements such as hours of personal therapy, supervision and CPD.

Completion of master’s degree and initial registration on medical professional register to work within an institution, under the authority of a certified medical professional.

Completion of certification process (written exam, case study presentation, personal individual & group therapy, supervision and CPD hours) for independent and private practice.

Music therapy is regulated under the Medical Treatment Law. Music therapists are regulated as one of the four specialisms of Art Therapy in the section of the law that relates to “functional specialists”.

In 2009 (updated in 2016) competencies were defined under the Regulations regarding the Competence of Medical Practitioners and Students Acquiring First or Second Level Professional Higher Medical Education Programs in Medical Treatment.

There are currently 45 members of the Latvian Music Therapy Association. A total of 96 music therapists have completed training since courses were first offered in 2009.

An overseas-trained music therapist has to submit their qualifications to the Academic Commission which regulates all health professions. If they ascertain that the educational qualification is equivalent a Latvian education,  that person can then work in a institution under the authority of a certified medical professional. They can then choose to go through the process of professional certification. If a foreign qualification is not judged to be equivalent, a Latvian training program must be completed.

Before beginning an MA programme a foundation course in physiology and anatomy must be completed.

  1. After completing an MA you can automatically get a medical profession basic certificate which allows you to work in an institution, under the authority of a certified medical professional but not independently or in private practice. This basic certificate must be renewed every 5 yrs. Renewal is dependent upon a required number of CPD hours.
  2. Having received a basic certificate and started working in an institution, a music therapist can choose to apply for full professional certification. This requires completion of a written exam, a case study presentation, CPD and supervision hours and personal therapy. Once certified, a music therapist can work independently in an institution or in private practice and is entitled to apply for positions in projects and institutions that require full certification. Certification must be renewed every 5 yrs. (CPD and supervision hours to be maintained. Number of supervision hours depends on weekly working hrs).
  3. Extra certifcations needed: All music therapists must hold an up-to-date First Aid certificate.
  1. End of 90s: Arts Therapy training seminars & workshops organised by German MT, Latvian music teacher & Art Therapist;
  2. International conferences with overseas specialists, music and arts therapists; medical and political leaders at national level invited to attend;
  3. 2003: the Professional Standards Development Working Group was founded, in collaboration with specialists from other fields, including medicine, education and speech therapy;
  4. 2005: Latvian Music Therapy Association founded, along with umbrella organisation – Latvian Arts Therapies Association;
  5. 2006: joint standards completed and professional title accepted;
  6. 2009: professional standards approved in legislation;
  7. 2010: Art (incl. music) therapy registered as a medical technique;
  8. 2012: title of art (incl. music) therapist included in Medical Treatment Law as a functional specialist.

Yes, the Latvian Alliance of Arts Therapy Associations was established in 2005 and was instrumental in the recognition process.

  1. The time was simply right! Latvia 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.

  2. Collaboration. 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.

  3. Strong personalities. Kristīne Mārtinsone, a psychologist and art therapist, and Mirdza Paipare, a music educator and the pioneer of Latvian music therapy, in particular invested themselves with passion and perseverance to achieving recognition.

  4. Support and encouragement from influential overseas experts. 

  • Collaboration with other arts therapies;
  • Influence from other countries may help the process;
  • Inform and educate people of influence in medical and political spheres – make them into ‘champions’ for music therapy!

Contact the Country Representative for Latvia