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    Esa Ala-Ruona (EMTC-Forum)

    Esa Ala-Ruona


    EMTC-Forum: Music Therapy as a Profession – on the Paths of Development

    The European Music Therapy Confederation (EMTC) is an umbrella organisation of professional music therapy associations, working actively to promote the further development of professional practice in Europe, and to foster exchange and collaboration between member countries. The EMTC-Conference 2019 has as its main theme “Fields of Resonance”. In this plenary session, the “fields of resonance” that have occurred and are occurring on the paths of development within the profession of music therapy will be discussed. The main points of focus will be clinical practice, training, research and societal impact.

    Experts from the field of music therapy will present short statements of their points of focus after which the audience will be involved in the discussion. The current state and future directions of the development of music therapy as profession will be elaborated.

    Opening remarks and Moderation: Esa Ala-Ruona, Preseident, EMTC

    Clinical Practice: Anne Sloboda, UK

    Training: Thomas Stegemann, Austria

    Research: Hanne Mette Ridder, Denmark

    Societal Impact: Brynjulf Stige, Norway


    Esa Ala-Ruona, President, EMTC

    Esa Ala-Ruona, PhD, music therapist, psychotherapist, and senior researcher at the Music Therapy Clinic for Research and Training, at University of Jyväskylä. He is a clinical teacher and a supervisor, and has 30 years of experience in working within psychiatry and neurology. His research interests lie in music therapy assessment and evaluation, and in studying musical interaction and clinical processes in music psychotherapy. He is also interested in rehabilitation progress and outcomes of stroke patients in active music therapy. He has been actively involved with the process of professionalization of music therapists and the development of music therapy training.

    Anne Sloboda, UK

    Ann Sloboda is Head of Music Therapy at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama. She is a registered psychoanalyst (British Psychoanalytic Council) and music therapist (HCPC). She studied music at Oxford University, and qualified as a music therapist from GSMD in 1985. Between 1985 and 2005 she worked as a music therapist in the NHS, in adult learning disability, eating disorders, general and forensic psychiatry. She has undertaken research in music therapy with PTSD. A past chair of the Association of Professional Music Therapists, she was Head of Arts Therapies at West London Mental Health Trust for 10 years.

    Thomas Stegemann, Austria

    Prof. Dr. Dr. Thomas Stegemann, child and adolescent psychiatrist, licensed music therapist, and family therapist. Head of the Department of Music Therapy and the Music Therapy Research Centre Vienna (WZMF) at the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, Austria. Main research/teaching areas: neurobiology; ethics; children, adolescents and families.

    Hanne Mette Ridder, Denmark

    Hanne Mette Ridder, PhD, Music therapist (DMTF), Professor of Music Therapy and head of the Doctoral Programme in Music Therapy at the Department of Communication and Psychology, Aalborg University, Denmark. Past president of the European Music Therapy Confederation (2010-2016). Leading and supervising research studies with both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, specifically on music therapy in dementia care.

    Brynjulf Stige, Norway

    Brynjulf Stige, PhD, is Professor of Music Therapy at the University of Bergen and Head of GAMUT – The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre, University of Bergen & NORCE, Norway. Stige has founded two international peer-reviewed journals; Nordic Journal of Music Therapy and Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. He is currently the founding leader of POLYFON Knowledge Cluster for Music Therapy, a cluster working with systematic implementation of music therapy in the Norwegian society. Stige's research explores relationships between music therapy, culture, and communities of practice.

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    Lars Ole Bonde

    Lars Ole Bonde


    Resonance, intensity and will in music psychotherapy

    What fosters change in psychotherapy, and what is special about music psychotherapy? Lars Ole Bonde have always been puzzled about when, how and why deep or tranformative changes happen in a client’s life, facilitated by therapy. There is a lot of interesting theory about therapeutic change, however, in this keynote Bonde will concentrate on two elements rarely discussed: the role of the will (more general) and the influence of intensity in music (more specific, and including Stern’s concept of ’Vitality forms’). Bonde will use examples from his own research over the years to illustrate  processes of deep resonance that may have led to change.


    Lars Ole Bonde, PhD, is a musicologist, a certified music therapist (DMTF, FAMI) and a certified clinical supervisor.

    In the 1980s he was associate professor in musicology at Aalborg University, and 1986-1995 he was a music producer in the Danish Broadcasting Corporation (Danmarks Radio) and a free lance opera and concert producer.

    He has worked as a teacher and researcher at the Aalborg University masters program in music therapy since 1991, from 2012 as ordinary professor.

    Since 2008 he has been professor II at Center for Research in Music and Health (CREMAH) at the Norwegian Academy of Music in Oslo. Also from 2008 he has been part of the Music Therapy Clinic at Aalborg University Hospital – Psychiatry.

    He is a primary trainer in Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) and has taught receptive methods to Aalborg students for decades. In later years his research has concentrated on music and public health – with the aim of spreading the good news on the effectiveness of ‘health musicking’, in- and outside of music therapy.

    He has published several books and hundreds of peer reviewed articles, and given lectures in European countries, the US and Brazil. Until 2017 he served as an associate editor of the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy. His musical autobiography is published in The Lives of Music Therapists Vol. 2 (2017).

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    Monika Geretsegger

    Monika Geretsegger


    Resonating research – What is needed to make music therapy research and implementation more relevant, meaningful, and innovative?

    In music therapy and many other fields, the importance of involving “users” in the research process has become increasingly recognised in recent years. "Users" in this context includes patients and other service users who may be directly affected by research, but also organisations representing their interests, and other end-users of research findings, such as health care personnel, decision-makers in health and care services, and health authorities. The rationale behind involving users in research projects is to improve impact, relevance, and applicability of research findings. Several music therapy researchers have started to implement participatory approaches in their studies to incorporate users’ perspectives, but often, this only happens to a limited extent, and has just limited influence on overall study designs. Lately, more and more funding bodies request that user engagement takes place in, at best, all stages of a research project. Along with these developments, citizen science and open innovation in science initiatives are gaining momentum in some areas of research and public administration strategies.Drawing on the phenomenon of resonance as a metaphor, Monika Geretsegger will explore ways of doing research that facilitate better connections between those who belong to groups that are affected by research results, and those who fund, plan, and conduct research. Examples from various fields will illustrate different approaches and may inspire future considerations of how to best allow for processes of resonance in our way of conducting, being involved in, perceiving, and interpreting research and service implementation.


    Monika Geretsegger, PhD, is a certified music therapist and clinical and health psychologist, currently employed as Senior Researcher at GAMUT – The Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre, Uni Research Health, Bergen/Norway, and as music therapist in adult acute mental health care at Landesklinikum Hollabrunn / Austria.

    In an honorary capacity, she serves as Associate Editor for the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, and has been on the board of the Austrian Association of Music Therapists from 2008 to 2018, acting as President from 2010 to 2016.

    After completing studies in psychology, linguistics, and music therapy in Austria, she received a PhD Fellowship from Aalborg University/Denmark in 2010. In her doctoral studies, she explored music therapy for children on the autism spectrum.

    Her current research activities focus on effectiveness and applicability of music interventions in areas such as depression and dementia. Additionally, she is involved in an international interdisciplinary research group examining determinants of mental health and well-being in children of parents with a mental illness. Most of her peer-reviewed publications are based on outcome research in the fields of developmental disorders and mental health.

    For more information

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    Susan Hart

    Susan Hart


    Neuroaffective perspectives on resonance

    Communicative resonance between human beings is created through synchronized interactions. It is the foundation for the development of human emotion, personality and capacity to engage in social relationships. It is also the foundation for sympathy and empathy. In this keynote, Susan Hart will present three developmental levels of resonance in order to outline how emotional skills develop during early childhood and remain essential for communication throughout life.

    Neuroaffective developmental psychology assesses resonance at three developmental levels: autonomic, limbic and prefrontal. From the beginning of life, resonance between the caregiver and infant is created through imitation, synchronicity and turn-taking. Activating resonance through all perceptual channels develops curiosity, attention and engagement at the autonomic level. During infancy, resonance is also created at the limbic level through affective attunement by sharing social emotions such as happiness, sadness and anger with facial expressions and gestures. Later, verbal dialogues increasingly create resonance at the prefrontal level through rhythm and prosody. When all three levels are online and connected, it becomes possible to interact with others through sophisticated, creative, symbolic and mentalized forms of resonance, creating an enormous potential for grounded empathy and deeply rooted connections with others.


    Susan Hart is a psychologist, specialist and supervisor in child psychology and in psychotherapy.

    She has a background in family treatment and child psychiatry, and is now in private practice supervising psychologists and clinicians. In her extensive lecture and workshop activity, she develops and teaches the neuroaffective theory, which is based on recent brain research.

    She started to outline neuroaffective developmental theory about 25 years ago, by bridging neuroscience with developmental psychology, and her focus today is on translating the theory into practice. Her organizing goal is to develop a method to bring the right intervention method to the right person.

    She has written 14 books on neuroaffective developmental psychology and psychotherapy, as well as on trauma and dissociation. Since 2003 she has held numerous workshops, trainings and keynotes mostly in Scandinavia, but also several times in Germany, the US and Australia.

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    Keynote Thursday: Monika Geretsegger

    Prof. Dr. Sheri Robb

    Prof. Dr. Sheri Robb

    Indiana University, School of Nursing, Indianapolis, IN, USA


    Prof.Dr. Katrina Skewes McFerran

    Prof.Dr. Katrina Skewes McFerran

    Creative Arts Therapies Research Unit, the University of Melbourne, Australia


    Keynote Friday: Susan Hart

    Ass.Prof. Dr. Gustavo Schulz Gattino

    Ass.Prof. Dr. Gustavo Schulz Gattino

    Music Therapy Programme, Department of Communication & Psychology, Aalborg University, Denmark


    Prof. dr., FAMI, Gro Trondalen

    Professor Gro Trondalen
    Photo: Kim Saavedt

    Norwegian Academy of Music


    Keynote Saturday: Lars Ole Bonde

    Ass.Prof. Dr Giorgos Tsiris

    Giorgos Tsiris

    Queen Margaret University; St Columba’s Hospice, UK


    Prof. Dr. sc. mus. habil. Susanne Metzner

    Professor Susanne Metzner

    Head of M.A. Music Therapy, Faculty of Philosophy and Social Sciences. University of Augsburg, Germany