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“When Words Fail”: Music for Neurological Disorders and End-of-Life Therapy



People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed ... from within.

Elizabeth Kubler-Ross


Course overview:

This one day workshop provides you a theoretical and practical introduction to the use of music for people with neurological disorders such as dementia, Parkinson's, and for those facing end of life. Communication and emotional expression can be particularly difficult for people in these situations. Music can be a diverting, positive and enjoyable means through which communication can be made possible.  


Learn how clients with neurological disorders can be given a means of non-verbal expression using symbols, the musical structure of songs, musical compositions for listening, song writing, imagery, visualisations and music-assisted meditation. This workshop is aimed at enhancing your existing practices and will provide valuable creative and evidence based tools for those who work with clients managing neurological disorders and end of life issues. 



You will have the opportunity to:

  • Learn how to work with client-based non-verbal cues with music
  • Practise creating musical responses to behavioural expressions
  • See music influence emotional responses and psychological states
  • Learn how to adapt and apply music material therapeutically 
  • Consider how to use music material for guided meditation
  • Experience integrating music with other creative modalities 
  • Learn how to work with clients in altered states of consciousness using music

What ideas are explored:

  • How can music help clients suffering neurological conditions like dementia?
  • What musical techniques can support clients mastering neurological disorders? 
  • How can music help a person approach death in the best possible way?
  • How can music be integrated with other forms of therapy?
  • How do I introduce music mindfulness to clients?
  • Are there clients for whom music is not suitable?

Training methods will include:

  • Interactive presentations
  • Large group discussions
  • Pair and small group discussions
  • Live demonstration of methods
  • Practise with meditation techniques, imagery and visualisation and art
  • Reflection opportunities for application of methods
  • Learn in the safety and support of a small group

Who Should Attend?

All who are interested in incorporating elements of music into therapeutic work. Psychologists, social workers, counsellors, psychotherapists, music therapists, art therapists, diversional therapists, pastoral workers, other allied health professionals and students.   Provisional psychologists can attend at student rates. Musical skills are not a requirement.


Workshop Dates

29 November 2019  Book by 29th Sept 2019 to save on early bird special


Workshop Facilitator

Dr Kirstin Robertson-Gillam   Registered Music Therapist




Workshop Venue

Burwood RSL, 96 Shaftesbury Rd, Burwood, NSW

Free onsite parking and close to Burwood Train and Bus Station.


Workshop Details

Included in the workshop price:

  • 6 CPD points/hours (12 hours for AASW members)
  • Comprehensive Bound Seminar Workbook
  • Certificate of Attendance
  • Lunch, Morning & Afternoon Teas
  • GST
  • 9am - 4pm Training
  • Early bird savings for bookings made two months prior to training.


Workshop Cost

Regular Price        $330

Early Bird              $300 (paid 2 months prior to workshop)

Student Price        $270

Student Early Bird $250 (paid 2 months prior to workshop)


Work Paying?

Lucky you!

Send us an email requesting an invoice via the contact page with your name, the dates and name of course/courses you'd like to do and the name of your organisation who you want us to invoice and we will send you an organisational invoice and a registration form.


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What people are saying about this presenter's workshops..


..recharging and refreshing. I learned new skills which I could deliver in my therapy sessions with clients.


...was a wonderful experience. Kirstin is a great teacher. You can tell that she has a lot of experience and it was great hearing about of her clinical experiences. 


√..really enjoyable. Kirstin is very experienced, and very generous with her feedback and ideas. 


...was enlightening. The work Kirstin has done within the dementia groups in our community, is fascinating.


.... with a group of participants who were all lovely - we all got to know each other well and felt comfortable to talk and express freely. 


....provided the opportunity to learn a lot of things in terms of both skills and insights into my own practice  I enjoyed the experiential element of the drum circles and creative mandalas and collages. The educator was engaging and insightful.


...I did have a bit of a tendency to dismiss the importance of music in general but I found this of use in understanding the therapeutic and expressive value to music in general, which will be useful in practice.

When Words Fail