Learning together: An investigation into the potential of interprofessional education within music therapy — By Jenny Laahs & Philippa Derrington

Special Issue 8 (1) 2016 “Music, drama, dance movement and art therapy: Interdisciplinary dialogues” – Article (first published on 1 March 2016)

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Learning together: An investigation into the potential of interprofessional education within music therapy

Jenny Laahs & Philippa Derrington


The literature acknowledges the benefits of collaboration between music therapists and other professionals for the individual therapist who collaborates, for our clients and for the music therapy profession itself. However, there has been little discussion regarding how therapists acquire the skills required for collaboration. In a wider healthcare context, the principle of interprofessional education is utilised to facilitate such collaboration in practice. This study considers peer clinical work review sessions as a potential interdisciplinary training tool within a UK arts therapy training context, from a music therapy perspective. Using a phenomenological paradigm, the experience of participating in interdisciplinary peer review sessions between a music therapy student and a dance movement psychotherapy student was modelled and evaluated.

The study found that interdisciplinary peer review was experienced as beneficial to the training experience in several ways, including developing peer support, widening perspectives of other professions and developing cross-discipline communication skills. These results could provide a framework upon which to base development of interdisciplinary inputs within the UK training context.


music therapy, arts therapies, collaboration, interdisciplinary education, training, peer review


Jenny Laahs completed her MSc in Music Therapy (Nordoff Robbins) at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh in 2014. This paper has been adapted from her final dissertation. Her first music therapy project after qualifying was a six week skill-sharing project in Tbilisi, Georgia, with Music as Therapy International. Jenny now works for Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland with a variety of client groups.
Email: jennylaahs@hotmail.com

Philippa Derrington PhD, is Programme Leader of the MSc Music Therapy programme at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, and has worked for many years as a music therapist in a variety of settings with adults and children.
Email: PDerrington@qmu.ac.uk