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Music Therapy Conversations

Mar 13, 2019

Joy is a self-employed music therapist in private practice. Prior to her music therapy training, she was clinical lead for a Nottinghamshire NHS Trust, (in adoption services, CAMHS, Nottinghamshire), having worked previously within the field of adoption for many years. She was also a member of both Nottingham and Leicester County’s Adoption Panels, offering both her professional and personal experiences to panel. Now as a specialist music therapist in adoption practice, Joy is an identified lead therapist for Adoption Services in the East Midlands, as well as retaining links with “CORAM” Leicestershire, and working extensively with individually referred cases funded by the Adoption Support Fund (which came into being in 2015 to enable adoptive families to gain access to psychotherapies). Joy works with adoptive families where longer-term placements are deemed “at risk of breakdown”, when ostensibly difficulties result from the placement of older children who are described as having significant “attachment (and other) disorders”. She also works with families at the beginning of new placements when it is thought likely that traumatic material will impinge upon the adoption placement.

She is currently working with adopted children with complex physical and learning disability, where often a disability discovered at birth led to the relinquishment of a baby. Joy developed her interest in how the impact of findings from neurobiology impacted on adult verbal psychotherapy, and what this might mean for music therapists trying to give meaning to what is emergent in the therapy room.

Her PhD research explores how relational attachments may be enhanced by moments of attunement  (which might be explained partially in terms of their neurobiology) occurring within a music therapy relationship. She has written the BAMT literature on adoption which is available to anyone perusing the website with a request about music therapy in adoption. She has presented her work on music therapy, adoption, and the significance of attunement at numerous conferences over the past 5 years, and in 2017 presented at the World Congress Of Music Therapy in Japan and at “EcArte” (the Eurpoean Arts Therapies conference) in Poland. She also regularly presents work to adoption agencies, and consults to groups and service users within the adoption community. She is an author, supervisor, and lecturer at Derby and Nottingham Universities.

Luke talks to Joy about her work with adoption and how this relates to her own life experiences, her development as a music therapist, and her current PhD research.


Bettelheim. B. 1950. Love Is Not Enough. Collier Books Edition Eighth Printing 1969.

Fonagy. P. 2001. Attachment Theory And Psychoanalysis. Karnac.

Verrier.N 1993. The Primal Wound: Understanding The Adopted Child. Gateway Press.

On Music And Psychoanalysis etc.

Ammaniti. M. and Gallese. V. (eds) 2014. The Birth Of Intersubjectivity: Psychodynamics, Neurobiology and The Self. Norton.

Rose. G. J. 2004. Between Couch And Piano: Psychoanalysis, Music, Art and Neuroscience. Routledge.

Searle. Y. and Streng. I. 2001. Where Analysis Meets The Arts: The Intergration Of The Arts Therapies With Psychoanalytic Theory. Karnac.

On Relationality.

Jaenicke. C. 2008. The Risk Of Relatedness: Intersubjectivity Theory In Clinical Practice. Aronson.

Trondalen. G. 2016. Relational Music Therapy: An Intersubjective Perspective. Barcelona Publishers.

Mitchell. S. A. 2000. Relationality: From Attachment To Intersubjectivity. Psychology Press, Taylor and Francis.

..and research..

Finlay. L and Evans. K. (eds) 2009. Relational-centred Research For Psychotherapists: Exploring Meanings and Experience. Wiley-Blackwell.

On Winnicottian Presence.

Wilberg. P. 2013. Being and Listening: Counselling, Psychoanalysis and The Ontology Of Listening. New Yoga Publications.

On Attachment.

Gerhardt. S. 2004. Why Love Matters. Routledge.

Music. G. 2019. Nurturing Children: From Trauma To Growth Using Attachment Theory, Psychoanalysis and Neurobiology. Routledge.

On Wounded Healers.

Kuchuck. S. 2014. Clinical Implications Of The Psychoanalysts Life Experience. Routledge.

  • This has the chapter referred to in the podcast about an adoptee who describes her lived experience as a therapist with lived experience of adoption.

Rippere. V. and Williams. R. 1985. Wounded Healers: Mental Health Workers Experiences Of Depression. Wiley.

Sedgwick. D. 1994. The Wounded Healer: Countertransference From A Jungian Perspective. Routledge.

…and research…

Romanyshyn. R. 2013. The Wounded researcher: Research With Soul In Mind. Spring Journal

On Micro Moments Of Attunement (or similar!).

Webber. A. 2017. Breakthrough Moments In Arts-Based Psychotherapy. Karnac.

On The Idea Of The Third.

Ogden. T. 1989. The Primitive Edge Of Experience. Aronson.

Benjamin. J. 2018. Beyond Doer and Done To: Recognition Theory, Intersubjectivity, and the Third. Routledge.