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Music Therapy with Adults with Learning Disabilities: Reflections on Service Provision Today, Considerations for Tomorrow.

29 September 2016

Following a systematic literature review of music therapy and learning disabilities, music therapist, Wendy Ruck will present at the Creative Discoveries: Learning Disabilities Conference on 23rd November. Wendy reflects on music therapy today within learning disabilities.



Learning Disabilities Services within the NHS experience a constant process of change and evolution influenced by politics, the economy and learning disabilities policies and procedures. Music Therapy, together with its sister professions of Art Psychotherapy and Dramatherapy, has been an established part of services for adults with a learning disability in Essex since the late 1980s. Since that time there have been several major publications, the common aim of which has been to improve the provision of health services and overall quality of life for this Service User group; and all of which have demanded some kind of response from us as clinicians in the field.

With a focus on the provision of music therapy within an NHS setting and contrasting individual case study examples Wendy Ruck examines and considers some of the pertinent issues facing a music therapist today and highlights the on-going and ever increasing need for multi – disciplinary team working.

Given the current thinking around the transformation of care programme, Wendy asks questions for practitioners working in this field and considers the dilemma of providing a music therapy service that is fit for purpose for the NHS in 2016 and beyond whilst remaining true to the integrity of the service user/therapist relationship and the unique value of music therapy.


For more information about the Creative Discoveries: Learning Disabilities Conference please click here


Wendy Ruck is a music therapist with more than 20 years of experience of working with adults with a learning disability. She is currently Lead Clinical Specialist Music therapist and Head of Arts Therapies at Hertfordshire Partnership University NHS Foundation Trust, North Essex. Other clinical experience includes adult mental health, forensic services and working with students and qualified music therapists as lecturer, workshop facilitator and clinical supervisor. She is currently the co-ordinator for the BAMT Learning Disability Network and shares membership with the BAAT and BADth reps on the Learning Disability Professional Senate. She is also a member of the East of England Clinical Senate.