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From Community Music Therapy to Peace

an article by Enrica Tifatino

We live in a time of political, economic and social instability which results in violence and conflicts. To help cope with this, we have launched an investigation to compile testimonies that confirm the hypothesis that through the Community Music Therapy can promote a culture of peace.

click on photo to enlarge

On the one hand, articles about Community Music Therapy by therapists such as Cecilia Isla, Gabriela Sicardi, Claudia Mendoza have confirmed the relation between positive health and social justice.

On the other hand, an obstacle to our research has been the unfortunate lack of research and literature on the relation between Music Therapy and Peace. The first bibliography we found made reference instead to the Music Therapy in the context of war and the victims of war.

After considerable search, we have been able to find a few articles that make specific reference to the subject by the investigator and music therapist Alba Sanfeliu. We found other articles by Edith Hilmann Boxill, Brynjulf, Even Ruud, Wang Feng Ng, Guylaine Vaillancourt, contents in digital reviews like and Web pages like

In addition, we have reviewed some projects of the movement Music Therapists for Peace )which was created by the music therapist Edith Hilmann Boxill (1997). According to Boxill, music therapy needs to "go out from the walls of therapy rooms and contribute to the healing of an injured planet."

According to these sources, music and Community Music Therapy can be a potential means of change and an instrument that can redress inequalities, with the hope that our actions as health professionals can help produce a world that is more just. It extends the interpretation and use of Preventive and Community Music Therapy from considering it only as a means for individual well-being, but also a way to favor peace and social justice.

Our results so far are encouraging as they verify the positive and beneficial effects of Community Music Therapy in two inter-related aspects: On the one hand the benefits of the Music Therapy as a preventive and communitarian activity at the social as well as individual level, and on the other hand, the possibility of arriving at a culture of peace and collective well-being through Community Music Therapy.

(Click here for a Spanish version of this article)


Question(s) related to this article:

What place does music have in the peace movement?,

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(See below for English translation)

Nuestra investigación sobre la Musicoterapia Comunitaria se ha desarrollando a  partir del inquietud siguiente.

“La violencia social es frecuentemente la expresión de la insatisfacción experimentada por un sector de la población que se ve privado del derecho de formar parte de esa sociedad y cultura del bienestar a la que tienen derecho” (Petrus, A. 1997)

Vivimos en un momento de instabilidad política, económica y social. La violencia y los conflictos son las consecuencias de tal instabilidad.

Desde la Segunda Guerra Mundial, hemos sufridos más de 150 conflictos armados, la mayoría de los cuales se han desarrollados en los países más pobres. A lo largo de esto siglo han muerto más de 110 millones de personas a causa de guerras injustificadas y sin sentido, en que el 90% de las víctimas son civiles, en particular mujeres y niños.

Y a parte de la violencia directa hay otros tipos de violencias cotidianas: una violencia estructural que incluye hambre, analfabetismo, discriminación de las mujeres, racismo, precariedad, etc.

En nuestro mundo nos recuerdan que “si quieres la paz, prepárate para la guerra”.  

Pero, son siempre más las personas que están rebelándose a esta realidad.

El interés en esta área está ligado a una búsqueda constante de encontrar una solución real para resolver tal situación. El mundo necesita de paz y una sociedad más justa. No se debería aceptar y contemplar el dolor y el sufrimiento de personas inocentes, cuando el mundo está gritando desesperadamente su necesitad de paz.


Our investigations about Community Music Therapy has developed out of the following concerns.

“Social violence is frequently the expression of the dissatisfaction of a sector of the population that is itself deprived of the benefits of that society and its culture of well-being for which they have right” (Petrus, A. 1997)

We live in a time of political, economic and social instability with violence and conflicts as a consequence. . ...more.

This report was posted on March 9, 2012.

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