Michaela is an HCPC- and BAMT-registered music therapist with a Masters in Music Therapy from Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She is DBS-certified and regularly updates her immunisations and relevant trainings, such as safeguarding and emergency life support. Prior to her music therapy training, Michaela spent her professional life as a classical & jazz-trained pianist and jazz & soul singer, performer and recording artist. However, she often employed music to help to soothe unwell relatives, champion causes close to her heart, and as a way of working through tension and difficulties. Her training as a music therapist joined the things she loves the most about music with her desire to use her musical skill and talent to connect and bring people together, but also, and perhaps more pertinently, to connect people with themselves. She truly sees this as her calling and vocation.
To provide a dedicated and devoted space where you can be supported in connecting with your complete self (musical, creative, emotional, cognitive, spiritual, cultural and physical) through culturally-aware music making and sharing, and building a trusting and equitable therapeutic relationship.
We all have the potential to connect. Sometimes our capacity to connect is impacted by our neurodiversity, early trauma, discrimination, racism, and distress, difficult attachment patterns and relationships, intergenerational trauma, and differences in mental and physical health and abilities. This can impair not just our ability to connect with others, but also to connect with our own healthy and creative core. As we all have an innate musicality (Trevarthen and Malloch 2000); [our heartbeat is a reminder that we have constant music happening within us]; MdC Music Therapy believes strongly in the capacity of music to restore this connection, which can empower our authentic musicality and creativity, help us to facilitate the shifts and changes we wish to make in our lives, and lead us to a better and more accepting understanding of ourselves and others.
To challenge ourselves as therapists to engage in deep and thorough self-exploration to ensure that we bring the highest level of self-awareness into the relationship with our clients. This includes being able to practice and maintain humility and openness when faced with our own unconscious biases or assumptions, and being able to apologise and communicate non-defensively when we have been wrong or hurtful.
True connection cannot happen without recognising and acknowledging the barriers, power imbalances and differences, visible or invisible, that exist between us. The historic and continued repercussions of slavery, colonialism and patriarchal systems affect all aspects of the therapy. Traditional therapies will have us distancing ourselves from these differences in order to remain “neutral” as therapists, however we do not believe this is practical or ethical. We must connect with the most painful and shameful parts of ourselves in order to model the same thing to our clients, and we believe this is the only way to form real, lasting, trusting connections.
To provide an anti-oppressive and integrative therapeutic experience drawing on relational-cultural, person-centred, resource-oriented and psychodynamic musical and psychotherapeutic approaches to explore our interconnectedness with others, our intersectionality, and the ways in which we impact and are systemically impacted by our environments, so as to foster a holistic attitude towards CHANGE.
Whatever gender, sexuality, race, or nationality we identify with, we bring that into the therapy space and into the therapeutic relationship together with all the other parts of ourselves. We therefore propose that deep healing, connection and change is dependent on all of us, therapist and client alike, owning not just all the aspects of our personal identities and backgrounds, but also how we are shaped by the systems within which we were born and have developed and grown and importantly, how that manifests between us in the therapy space.
To steadfastly commit to an antiracist and anti-oppressive practice. MdC Music Therapy firmly asserts every single person's right to be whole and equal. This is our ethos inside and outside of the therapy room, and we consistently work hard to be worthy of calling ourselves allies to all marginalised peoples, including people of colour, LGBTQIA+, and people who are differently and diversely abled. Our therapists, practices and music strive to be inclusive, but we also acknowledge that they are ever-evolving as we ourselves continue to make mistakes, learn and grow.
We believe music AND therapy cannot be apolitical. Music is powerful and activating and must be respected as so, and therapy cannot be functional and effective if we only locate problems in the individual and their past and do not consider how policies and systems privilege or oppress us. We vow to be a space that feels welcoming, safe, non-judgmental and open to curiosity.
To create positive change and promote social justice through engaging in activism; fighting for equality and equity on training, practice, supervisory, research and establishment levels; participating in peaceful protest; and by using our voices and platforms to challenge the status quo.
We believe that all human beings have a responsibility to advocate for social justice and change. As therapists who hold the power to influence and speak directly to our clients’ states of mind, we have an even greater responsibility not to perpetuate harmful biases and oppressive practices. MdC Music Therapy vows to do the hard work needed for the ongoing fight for change.
To challenge colonial and patriarchal approaches to therapy and mental health through a reflexive and open practice, and through listening to our clients and putting their musical and psychological needs above prescriptive methods of care and treatment.
The Western Medical Model has held the monopoly on the definitions of physical, mental and emotional health for generations. This has resulted in the unequal medical treatment of peoples of the global majority from the East and the Global South, the misdiagnoses of symptoms in non-White racial groups, and the utter dismissal of other cultural healing traditions. Music Therapy, as it is taught and practiced in Britain, prioritises the traditions of Western Classical Music and Western Psychotherapy Theories and Approaches. This, once again, excludes other genres and traditions of music and rejects it as “not good enough”, whilst also belittling less individualistic and more community-minded avenues to healing. This also creates massive barriers to entry for trainees and potential future music therapists. We need to break these down. This does not mean that at MdC Music Therapy we do not respect and thank the ones who built our profession and have taken it to where we are now. But it does mean that we need to take a close look at the systemic problems which our profession has inherited from its parent systems and how they hurt and damage our workforce and our clients, and humble ourselves to make the necessary changes to stop this hurt and damage NOW.
The MdC logo is a symbol of our values. It contains: 1) a crotchet rest (which has been turned on its side to form the M), which represents a short pause in the music, a space where you can take time out for a beat, rest, reflect and focus on yourself and your healing; 2) a fermata (which has been rotated to form the C), which signifies that something should be held or sustained, symbolising our therapeutic approach to providing a holding and containing space for you to feel secure enough to build a sustained relationship with your music therapist.
Michaela is an HCPC- and BAMT-registered music therapist with a Masters in Music Therapy from Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. She is DBS-certified and regularly updates her immunisations and relevant trainings, such as safeguarding and emergency life support. She believes in an integrative and holistic approach to healing which includes exploring all the aspects of our psyches, identities, souls, our physical and physiological selves, and the systems we live in.
Michaela identifies as a woman of colour and sits on the EDIB panel for the British Association for Music Therapy. She is a voice for change, challenging existing music therapy training approaches and practices which remain steeped in White, Western, colonial ideas and which do not inclusively and fairly serve the wide and diverse client group she has seen whilst working in the UK. (Listen to Michaela's BAMT Podcast below.)
Michaela is no stranger to activism, having used her musical platforms to raise awareness for a number of causes and fight for equality as a musician prior to her music therapy training. While primarily a jazz & classically trained pianist and jazz & soul singer, performer and recording artist, she often employed music to help soothe unwell relatives and as a way of working through tension and difficulties. Her training as a music therapist joined the things she loves the most about music with her desire to use her musical skill and talent to connect and bring people together, but also, and perhaps more pertinently, to connect people with themselves. She truly sees this as her calling and vocation.