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Music Therapy Conversations

Jun 17, 2020

Andrew West is a child and adolescent psychiatrist based in Oxford. He graduated from Cambridge University with First Class Honours in Natural Science, Part 1a in Law. He went on to study Anatomy at Leeds University and then Clinical Medicine at Oxford. He worked for several years in New Zealand, completing an internship in Psychotherapy and Counselling there. He completed Oxford Higher Training in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry in 1996 and has intermediate level training in Group Therapy with Children, and Family Systemic Psychotherapy. From 2001 he worked as a consultant in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Paediatric Liaison Psychiatry in Berkshire, including working as a specialty trainer and consultant appraiser, and for the last five years consulting to a large independent school. After over thirty years in the NHS he now holds an honorary contract as a mentor and coach for NHS staff in the Thames Valley and Wessex region. He has regularly published work in peer-reviewed journals including on ethics and uncertainty in clinical practice, and original research into fathering.

Music has always been an important part of Andrew’s life. In his teens he undertook a mini-apprenticeship with a luthier, Robert Raeburn-Smith, which enabled him to build the violin that he plays to this day. Over the last two years has been playing with the FMI collective, Oxford Improvisers. He is a project partner for the Collaborating Centre for Values Based Practice in Health and Social Care at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, where he has led and contributed to seminars on the nature of evidence, listening, and the role of improvisation and aesthetics in clinical work. His book Being With and Saying Goodbye: Cultivating Therapeutic Attitude in Professional Practice, was published by Karnac Books in 2016 and received enthusiastic reviews from the British Journal of Psychiatry Bulletin and the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy.

Andrew talks in this interview about the importance of music to him, how aesthetics can be relevant to psychiatry and psychotherapy, and about values-based practice.

More about Andrew's work and writing can be found at and and he tweets as @afwesty.