Some say NC music therapists should have a license

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DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — More and more, music is being used as a method to help train the mind.

Many patients who have certain disabilities or mental health conditions are now turning to music therapists.

But currently, music therapists do not need to have a license in North Carolina. Many in the industry are turning to the General Assembly to change that.

“There are people who are going into a lot of nursing facilities and hospitals saying that they’re music therapists and they don’t have the bachelor’s degree,” said Allison Hingley, a therapist with Atlantic Music Therapy.

“They haven’t completed the six-month internship. We’re not recognized in this state as the highly qualified professionals that we are.”

Freddy Perkins is a music therapist with Voices Together in Durham. He helps provide group therapy sessions for kids and adults with autism and developmental disabilities.

“It’s a big deal being able to say, this is who I am or this is how I’m feeling or to just start a conversation with someone,” said Perkins. “We use music as a tool to help engage them socially.”

Under House Bill 192, the state would start would issuing licenses for music therapy through a recreational therapy board.

“People are starting to understand we are something that’s evidence-based,” said Perkins. “We are something that can do good for other people.”

Supporters said if music therapists are licensed, it also would help with insurance-related issues.

The bill passed in the House late in the session. Its supporters hope it also will pass the Senate next year in the short session.

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