• Grace Thompson
  • Katja Gottschewski
  • Beth Pickard
  • Cochavit Elefant
  • Maren Metell
  • Efrat Roginsky
We invite participants to engage with our ongoing effort of generating a fresh perspective on the therapeutic alliance in music therapy by deepening our understanding of the neurodiversity paradigm. Neurodiversity, a term associated with a rights-based disability agenda, proposes that people's neurologically-based differences are no different to other social classifications such as gender and race (Singer, 2017). The Neurodiversity movement challenges systems and interventions
with “normalization” as the core agenda (Bascom, 2012). Instead, “maximization” of strengths and resources is encouraged, with advocates seeking to influence all levels of society, from policy to interpersonal, everyday practices. We also consider how the theory and politics of the neurodiversity movement might also lead to the creation of safe spaces for music therapists with lived experience of neurodivergence or disability. We contend that advocacy must flow both ways,
since if music therapists with lived experience are marginalised in our profession, so too are the people we work with. In this workshop, presenters from varying social and international contexts will invite critical debate around the role, position and attitude of the music therapist when working with neurodivergent participants, taking the words of Autistic author and activist, Penni Winter (2012), as our provocation: “it’s not [only] WHAT’S done, but WHY it’s done”. We offer our
interpretation of key concepts and dimensions of this discourse (Elefant et al, 2020), before imagining together how we as music therapists might apply these understandings to our practice and invite new possibilities to emerge for the future of our profession.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Jan 2021
EventMusic Therapy – Adapting Approaches for Health: 10th Nordic Music Therapy Conference - Helsinki, Helsinki, Finland
Duration: 16 Jun 202119 Jun 2021


ConferenceMusic Therapy – Adapting Approaches for Health: 10th Nordic Music Therapy Conference
Internet address

    Research areas

  • neurodiversity, therapeutic alliance, therapeutic intention, music therapy

ID: 4921070