PDS Speakers

Libby Sherring

Libby Sherring is a psychotherapist, spiritual care practitioner, counsellor and educator with experience in community health, private practice and a variety of acute, sub-acute and palliative care hospital settings. Libby's approach to counselling is firmly rooted in Person Centred, Phenomenological principles with a focus on nurturing quality therapeutic relationships as the basis of her work.

Alongside her therapeutic roles, Libby has a background in education (secondary & adults) and is a skilled workshop facilitator. In the field of mental health, Libby has facilitated subjects including ‘Communication Skills for Counselling’ at La Trobe University, Melbourne (School of Health Sciences & Psychology) and reflective supervision groups for Masters of Counselling/ Spiritual Care students. During the last couple of years Libby has enjoyed opportunities to create and facilitate a number of counselling skills workshops hosted by the Victorian branch of AMTA.

Libby is passionate about ethical practice and works to promote culturally responsive, inclusive and reflective practice. A core element of Libby’s instruction is in fostering the development of greater self-awareness as key to ‘the instrument of self as therapist’ in all her students. With a love of the creative and performing arts, Libby brings a keen interest in nurturing people's connection to creativity and enthusiastically supports the use of creative processes in counselling. She values the contributions of Music Therapy and views herself as an ally to the work of music therapists in the field.

Libby's theoretical orientation in counselling:

Libby's approach to counselling is pluralistic and draws on a range of modalities including: PEEFT, Existential, Transpersonal, C.B.T, Narrative and Expressive Arts therapies.

About the online workshop:

Libby’s style of presentation is focused on providing a supportive environment grounded in theory and current principles of best practice. With opportunity to reflect, share, discuss and ask pertinent questions, the session offered will include exploration of the relevance and translation of skills presented into music therapy settings. On completion of this workshop you can expect to come away with greater personal awareness and sound practical tips to further equip you in applying fundamental principles of counselling in your work as music therapists.


Associate Professor Debra Phyland

Dr Debbie Phyland is a speech pathologist having primarily worked for the past 33 years in acute hospital settings, part-time lecturing in voice, neurological and dysphagia subjects and running her private voice practice. Debbie is also a music theatre singer-performer combining her love of performance with her speech pathology career, bringing voice medicine to the performing arts. In 2002, she was the recipient of a Churchill and Kilpatrick Fellowship and travelled to the USA and Europe to study occupational voice management.

Debbie is appointed as Adjunct Associate Professor for the School of Clinical Sciences, Monash University working part-time (0.4) as Clinical Research Director for the ENT Head and Neck Department of Monash Health. As well as being a co-founder and owner of the Melbourne Voice Analysis Centre team, Debbie is the principal speech pathologist (SP) for her private practice Voice Medicine Australia (a team of 8 speech pathologist).

For twenty years Debbie has been the resident voice consultant for Melbourne Theatre Company and countless professional productions including Billy Elliot The Musical and Six the Musical , Matilda, Kinky Boots, WarHorse, King Kong, Lion King and Les Misérables. She was the recipient of a Victorian Green Room Award ‘Outstanding Contribution to the Melbourne Stage’ in 2012.

Along with Fellowship category (2014), Debbie has also been honoured with the prestigious Speech Pathology Australia Association’s Elinor Wray Award (2010) for ‘Outstanding contribution to the profession’ and an Australian Voice Association Award for ‘Outstanding contribution to the Australian voice community’ (2014). She is the Past President of the Laryngology Society of Australasia (2013-2017), a current board member of the Australian Voice Association and board member and Chair of the Voice Committee for the International Association of Logopaedics and Phoniatrics. She was the speech pathology representative on the Medicare Taskforce Committee and has published over 30 journal articles and book chapters and a regular invited speaker at ENT/Laryngology conferences.

Vocal sustainability in change of climate

These current COVID times have had a large impact on our vocal load and the way we use our voices, whether due to use of masks or online communication modes. This session will focus on specific strategies and exercises to increase vocal fitness and improve vocal delivery to optimise clinical and creative outcomes and communication success.