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About Dr. Cathy McKinney

Dr. Cathy McKinney, professor and director of music therapy, has extensive clinical experience across a wide range of populations. She has presented her work at state, regional, national and international conferences. A Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery, she is the editor of the Journal of the Association for Music and Imagery. She has published in music therapy, psychology, and behavioral medicine journals. Her primary area of research is the psychological and physiological effects of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music in healthy adults as well as in adults with medical or mental disorders.

McKinney has served in numerous positions at state, regional and national levels in music therapy. She is a past member of the Board of Directors of American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and past president of the Southeastern Region of AMTA.

She is the founding director of the Appalachian State University’s music therapy program. In addition, she is a founding member of the Appalachian Expressive Arts Collective, an interdisciplinary faculty group of artists and arts therapists who use dreams and the creative process for personal and professional growth. She has served at Appalachian for over 20 years.

Areas of Expertise
Music therapy and its effects on adults with mental disorders, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and children and adolescents with emotional and behavioral disorders.


Present Director, Appalachian State University Music Therapy Program
Present Professor of Music Therapy, Appalachian State University Hayes School of Music

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Honors and Awards

  • Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009, The Board of Governors of the University of North Carolina


  • MUS 5051 Advanced Topics in Music Therapy
  • MUS 4060 Piano Improvisation for Music Therapy
  • MUS 3900 Music Therapy Practicum
  • MUS 3073 Music Therapy Practice in Mental Health


B.A., Duke University ‐ Psychology and Music
M.A., University of Northern Colorado ‐ Music Therapy
Ph.D., University of Miami ‐ Music therapy and Behaviorial medicine

Contact Information

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Research Works (19)