Conference 2019 Preliminary Program

Advances in Trauma Treatments: How Trauma Theory can inform your Music Therapy Instincts and Interventions

Carolyn Neapole, MTA, AVPT, SEP

The nervous system is designed to help us navigate the world and respond to our environments, but what happens when the nervous system is compromised or confused? Recent developments in trauma theory have jump-started our knowledge of how the nervous system functions, and what changes when a person has been traumatized.

Why should trauma theory matter to music therapists? Because a deeper understanding of the human nervous system can simultaneously provide wider and more finely tuned observations that inform how we choose our interventions. Drawing on Dr. Peter Levine’s Somatic Experiencing model, Dr. Diane Austin’s Vocal Psychotherapy model and Dr. Stephen Porges’s polyvagal theory, the presenter will examine how a better understanding of nervous system function, the phases of the nervous system, and trauma’s effects on the body can deepen and enrich a music therapist’s responsiveness to their clients. Client examples will be shared, and collectively we will look at how our music therapy practices can be enriched by incorporating the emerging science behind the treatment of trauma.

Carolyn Neapole is a certified music therapist in Vancouver, BC, Canada. She is faculty in the Music Therapy undergraduate program at Capilano University, and provides trauma informed music therapy in the Burn Unit at Vancouver General Hospital, the BC Cancer Agency, and in private practice.

An interactive presentation of a cross over design study comparing the effectiveness in reducing agitated behaviours of persons with dementia using passive music listening versus music therapy interventions

Camilla Schroeder, MTA

This presentation will reveal the process, outcomes and share the music therapy interventions used in a research project completed at Berkley Care Centre. With the fund of a Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute Grant, the support of the manager and interdisciplinary team, and the mentorship of Susan Summers, Camilla chose to embark on a quantitative study over ten weeks in the fall of 2018. Music therapy interventions which will be demonstrated involve improvisation, a hello song approach and connection songs within a group setting.

Camilla Schroeder is a certified music therapist (MTA) who works as a music therapist in long-term care, supervises practicum and internship students regularly, and has contributed to the profession as a board member with the MTABC. At Capilano University (College) Camilla completed her jazz diploma in 2001 and her bachelor of music therapy degree in 2004. She also teaches Guitar Private Music Instruction in the Music Therapy program at Capilano University.

Abating The Inevitable

Sam King, MTA

“Abating The Inevitable” will be focused on how Sam manages working in isolation by learning through his practice and personal life. Examples will be provided to illustrate how his work mitigates social isolation for himself and his clients. Sam’s personal life and identity as a musician outside of his practice – and lack thereof during his first year of work – will be explored as his connections with friends, family, fellow music therapists, and other musicians are integral to his community. The target audience are students and music therapists.

Sam King is a certified music therapist working in long-term care, addictions, and stroke recovery. He graduated from the Capilano University Music Therapy Program in December 2017. Work found him after his internship at Burnaby Centre for Mental Health and Addictions. Rap music therapy (Rap and Recovery) was a large focus of Sam’s internship and he has carried this forward in his work at Pacifica Treatment Centre.

Beyond One Voice

Aspen Switzer, MTA
Alexina Davis, MTA, MT-BC

Research shows singing in community releases endorphins and oxytocin while decreasing cortisol levels, depression, anxiety & loneliness. In this workshop, participants will be led through harmony singing while facilitators track and discuss therapeutic elements through a clinical lens. Participants will come away with an understanding of how facilitators work to meet the goal of bringing clients experiencing grief, depression and anxiety out of isolation and into connection through therapeutic choirs. Expect to obtain concrete interventions and greater confidence in harmony singing.

After a decade of running community choirs and traveling the country with her original tunes, Aspen Switzer traded the road for more stillness and a chance to be of deeper service. In 2015 she completed her bachelors of music therapy at Capilano University and has worked primarily in hospice and grief care ever since. She is the creator of Synergy, a therapeutic choir supporting clients living through grief, illness, anxiety and depression.

Alexina Davis has a long history with choral singing and after studying jazz performance for several years, she switched to become an arranging major and began to write for her college choir. She graduated from the Capilano music therapy program in 2016 and has been working mostly with children, longterm care and bereavement care. In 2015, she did part of her internship with Synergy and in 2017, temporarily lead the group for a year.

We’re All in This Together: Music Therapy in the Era of Climate Change

Deborah Seabrook, MMT MTA PhD(C)

Honouring our interconnectedness with the living world, this presentation invites music therapists to consider our discipline, ourselves, and our clients in the context of climate change. What roles might music therapy as a helping profession play in caring for our planet and its peoples in this time of crisis? Related work from allied fields, including psychotherapy, ecomusicology, and music performance is surveyed and relevant music therapy theory and practices are highlighted. Questions are posed, and suggestions offered for moving forward with awareness, courage, and hope.

Deborah Seabrook is a music therapy clinician, researcher and educator, and an improvising pianist. Deborah specializes in music therapy for musicians and has taught music therapy at McGill, Concordia and Wilfrid Laurier Universities. Deborah’s interdisciplinary interests include music therapy and intersectionality, anti-oppressive practices, and climate change. Her current doctoral research examines music improvisation for the promotion of mental health. Deborah offers sessions and supervision through her practice:

Why Chronic Loneliness Can Be Difficult to Escape—And How the Arts Can Help Lonely People Gradually Ease Back into Social Life

Eddy Elmer, MA

Whether young or old, we all experience some loneliness from time-to-time, as it evolved as a natural and adaptive part of the human condition. For some people, however, loneliness can become chronic and unrelenting, significantly impacting their everyday functioning and increasing their risk for morbidity and early mortality. Although there are various factors which may cause chronic loneliness in the first place, loneliness itself can self-perpetuate by increasing social anxiety, negatively impacting social cognition, and leading to self-protective withdrawal. This can exacerbate the initial causes of loneliness and leave people feeling helpless to escape their situation. It has been suggested that the best way to overcome chronic loneliness is to gradually ease one’s way back into social life, by engaging in small social interactions in safe, non-threatening places. This presentation will explore how the arts can be a useful context in which to do this. The arts can provide chronically lonely people with enjoyable activities in the company of others, but without requiring much social interaction at the outset. They also provide a convenient pretext for socializing, which is appealing to those who fear that others will discover their loneliness. As they engage in these activities on a regular basis, chronically lonely people may gradually feel safer in social settings and may begin questioning their negative assumptions about people. They may also develop greater self-esteem and mastery, key ingredients in overcoming loneliness. Importantly, arts activities are sufficiently enjoyable in their own right that they can encourage lonely people to continue participating even when they feel that their social gains are not as fast or substantial as they would like. By helping people remain socially engaged, even when they feel like giving up, the arts can help to interrupt the self-perpetuating cycle of chronic loneliness.

Eddy Elmer served on the City of Vancouver Seniors’ Advisory Committee for three terms. He is now on the LGBTQ2+ Advisory Committee and on the Board of the BC Psychogeriatric Association. Eddy is interested in loneliness and mental health in marginalized groups. He is currently working on his PhD in social gerontology from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, studying the links between marginalization and loneliness among older LGBTQ2+ adults.

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