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.


Dr Katrina Skewes McFerran

Dr Katrina Skewes McFerran is Head of Creative Arts Therapy and Director of Graduate Research in the Creative Arts Therapy Research Unit at the University of Melbourne. She is also currently serving as Associate Dean for Student Wellbeing in the Faculty of Fine Arts and Music. Kat has a strong interest in receptive music therapy methods and is on the verge of completing her Level 3 GIM training with E/Prof Denise Grocke AO, and with whom she is currently developing a second edition of Receptive Music Therapy for Jessica Kingsley Publishers. She remains committed to working with and researching adolescents and music therapy, and has published 5 books, more than 90 journal articles and created a MOOC on How Music Can Change Your Life that has enrolled 20,000 students to date. She is now the mother of two teenagers herself, and continues to juggle the various pieces of her life, with more and less success.

Musical insights: Identifying internal barriers to success and flourishing

In this workshop, Kat will share some of her more recent online work with successful people who are nonetheless struggling to navigate these uncertain times. The focus will be on using music and imagery to work with unconscious material, processed privately through drawing and narrative. The workshop will be gentle and supportive, but with potential for personal insights and growth. A classic opportunity to re-engage internally or share aesthetic pleasure through music journeys.


Rachael Mackay

Rachael completed her Master of Creative Music Therapy in 2016 with an undergraduate in music and honours in sound design. Rachael has specialised training in electronics and audio and is highly passionate about the efficacy of technology and the benefits it has to offer music therapy practice. Rachael currently works at NORO Music Therapy in the position of Clinic Practice Manager and as an RMT with various populations.

Let’s get Technical: Technology and Music Therapy

A practical, interactive and accessible workshop on the implementation of technology for assessment, evaluation and practice as we continue to hurdle the modern age of gadgets and gizmos. This workshop aims to provide an overview of technologies/resources current being used in music therapy practice (telehealth and face to face) and tips and tricks for effective and goal specific implementation in sessions to support client goals and objectives.


Oli O’Reilly

Oli O’Reilly is a senior music therapist at Noro Music therapy, multi-instrumentalist and sessional academic in music and music therapy at Western Sydney University. Oli has worked with people across the lifespan, he currently works in Palliative Care and Oncology at Concord Repatriation General Hospital with Noro Music Therapy. In his PhD, Oli is investigating ways music therapists and other musicians develop ensemble skills, with a particular focus on generalising instrumental skills from first instrument to clinical applications of the guitar.

Unlocking melody on the guitar

For many of us growing up playing piano or melodic instruments like the violin or flute (or the tuba come to think of it), guitar was a difficult though necessary musical challenge during the early stages of our training. With so much to learn and so little time we tend to pick up a handful of chords and a couple of strumming patterns so we can get stuck into placement. However it can be challenging to find the time and headspace to expand beyond this as we settle into our music therapists careers. In this workshop participants learn how to navigate the notes on the fretboard, then put this to use and explore melodic ways to enhance their guitar work by adding a little flare to an ostinato pattern, adding some light and shade to the harmonic accompaniment, adding the melody to accompaniment and for those who are a little more game, exploring the joys of melodic improvisation.


Yves Silveira

Yves Silveira is an experienced musculoskeletal physiotherapist, with a passion for sports, rehabilitation and corporate wellness. Yves’ unique selling point is the three hats he wears – sports physiotherapist, teacher and corporate wellness facilitator. He combines these areas effectively to inspire his clients to feel better, work better and overall be 'the best versions of themselves’. Yves presentations are engaging, fun and successful in giving strategies to reduce lost time to injuries, as well as promoting happiness and productivity in the workplace. Yves has a keen interest in music, who enjoys playing piano, guitar and saxophone, and was short-listed to play at the Sydney Opera house for excelling in his HSC major work many years ago.

How to stay pain free in music therapy

Have you experienced pain whilst working as a Music Therapist? Wouldn’t it be great to develop a skillset to tap into during these moments? If so, we have just the workshop for you! By delving deep into the common causes of pain and dysfunction, this practical workshop will equip music therapists with some tangible techniques to help alleviate pain or niggles whilst working.