PDS Speakers

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Natalie Jack

Natalie has been an RMT since 1999, with a particular clinical interest in forensic mental health. Natalie holds a Master of Mental Health Science and experience in policy development, team and non-profit leadership, project management, supervision and training, and runs her own business providing supervision, professional development and supervision training to allied health professionals.

Workshop Details

Optimise Your Reflection and Learning at Today’s PDS

These two ‘bookend’ PDS sessions will support RMTs to make the most of their learning throughout the day. The themes will be of presence, intentionality, reflection and growth.

Some of the questions we will explore will include:

  • Breathing and grounding activity
  • Discussion on reflection
  • Discussion on being intentional
  • Setting intentions and goals activity

The closing session will include:

  • Breathing and grounding activity
  • Reflection on the day’s learning
  • Review of intentions and goals activity
  • Discussion on how to grow from the day’s learnings

Dr Elly Scrine

Dr Elly Scrine is a child and youth counsellor, a Registered Music Therapist, and an early career academic interested in highlighting young people’s agency and resistance in the face of systemic injustice. Elly’s doctoral research examined the role of music to explore gender and power with young people in high school, and how schools in the settler-colonial context function as sites of power and regulation in young people’s lives. Elly has documented this work across a range of peer reviewed articles and book chapters that highlight the affordances of music in allowing young people to articulate expansive gender cultures. Elly’s academic and clinical work focuses on challenging discourses of risk and deficit, seeking to identify connections between trauma and perceived vulnerabilities with structural violence. Outside of their academic pursuits, Elly is an electronic artist, directs a community choir, and is passionate about mutual aid and transformative justice

Workshop Details

Practicing transformative justice in music therapy: Hands on approaches for responding to violence and harm and highlighting resistance in our work

This workshop invites participants to consider the ways in which we can de-pathologise people’s responses to trauma by identifying and transforming the conditions in which violence occurs. Transformative justice is a political framework that focuses on responding to harm and abuse, building on liberatory principles rather than strategies of blame and punishment.

Informed by concepts from radical therapeutic frameworks to community activism, the workshop will look at the key aspects of transformative justice and how they relate to trauma and harm within music therapy. Participants will be invited to consider and respond to the following topics:

  • Creating safety teams and practicing solidarity
  • Remaining implicated and accountable as a clinician
  • Supporting survivors through strategies that highlight agency and resistance
  • Building community strength and resources within therapeutic work.

The workshop will involve active discussion, personal reflection, and opportunities to practice response-based therapeutic skills.

Tanya Marie Silveira

Tanya Marie Silveira is a Registered Music Therapist, PhD Graduate Researcher and the 2020-2021 inaugural recipient of Australian Music Therapist of the Year. Tanya's PhD research examined how accessible music-making can impact the hand function and wellbeing of stroke survivors. In 2019, Tanya was invited to speak about her PhD research at the inaugural TEDxNewtown event. Over the years, Tanya has presented internationally and nationally on her research and clinical work. Her publications can be found in academic journals and books. Tanya has also established multiple ongoing music therapy programs in Australia and India. Identifying as an Australian of Indian origin, Tanya is now working hard to advocate for the importance of visibility and representation in music therapy.

Workshop Details

Sharing stories, support and solidarity: A deep dive into recognising our unconscious biases

This workshop will be centred upon the sharing of the presenter’s stories of lived experiences of adversity as an introduction to help RMTs better understand the very real mental health challenges faced by their colleagues in the workplace. The delegates will be encouraged to engage in practical learning in this workshop through discussion and musicking. The key concepts explored in this workshop include the impact of intersectionality, unconscious biases, oppression, privilege, and considerations for authentic allyship. RMTs will also be encouraged to more deeply consider their important role in advocacy which is beyond the profession itself: they will work together to come up with tangible ideas of how they can both individually and collectively support their colleagues who experience adversity. As this approach to learning is the starting point for self-directed processes, delegates will contribute to and be provided with take-away resources as a prompt for their lifelong learning/unlearning process.

Zara Thompson

Dr Zara Thompson is a post-doctoral research fellow and music therapist at The University of Melbourne. Her clinical and research interest relates to using music to support people living with dementia and their care-partners, and how music can create accessible and inclusive communities. Zara also works clinically with NDIS participants, and facilitates the Rewire Musical Memories choir – an inclusive and therapeutic choir for people living with dementia and their care-partners.

Rewire Musical Memories Choir Members

Members of the Rewire Musical Memories Choir have lived experience of living with a diagnosis, or caring for someone with a diagnosis of dementia. We meet weekly as an inclusive, therapeutic community choir, where we share our passion for music and support each other. During the pandemic, we have developed a hybrid approach to choir, combining online and in-person singing, in order to ensure that all our members can continue to participate.

Workshop Details

We're Still Here - Challenging stigma through song writing with the Rewire Musical Memories Choir.

‘We’re Still Here’ is a workshop run by RMT Zara Thompson and members of the Rewire Musical Memories choir. In this workshop, we will discuss the pros and cons of using arts-based approaches to research and advocacy, and engage in reflection through discussion and song writing about the role that music therapists can play in challenging stigma and promoting accessibility and inclusion of older adults, particularly those living with dementia.


Stigma relating to ageing and disability often impacts the lives of older people, particularly those living with dementia. The recent Royal Commission into Aged Care revealed horrific systemic issues, while throughout the pandemic, narratives relating to the value of lives of older people have dominated discussions of public health measures. In 2021, members of the Rewire Musical Memories Choir embarked on an arts-based research project in which we composed a number of songs about our experience of stigma, and the COVID19 pandemic. In this workshop, we will share these songs, discuss song writing as a means of engaging in difficult conversations, and work with participants to compose new songs of advocacy.

What the workshop will involve:

  • Introduction and sharing of our 2021 arts-based project
  • Small group discussion/song writing task with members of the Rewire Musical Memories Choir
  • Group discussion and sharing of songs composed/discussion points

Minky Van Der Walt

Minky van der Walt is a RMT and RGIMT with expertise in chronic stress and post-traumatic mental health. In witnessing the work impacts on health professionals and educators over 20 years, Minky has become a passionate advocate for the wellbeing of helping professionals, whom she supports in her private practice Tempo Therapy & Consulting.

Workshop Details

Beyond self care: a workshop in career sustainability for RMTs

The last few years have been tough for health professionals. If anything, these challenges have highlighted just how much the situations and the relationships in which we find ourselves, at home, at work and in between, impact us and our ability to do our job well.

We matter; and when we find ourselves working in overwhelmed systems and organizations, we need to acknowledge that individual workers are not the problem.

Incorporating concepts from interpersonal neurobiology, Gestalt theory and trauma stewardship, this workshop will divert the problematic notion of self-care away from the setup of individual culpability and focus on an exploration of a relational approach to career sustainability for RMTs: what is happening within, between and around us?

Some of the questions we will explore will include:

  • What is your lived experience of being a RMT?
  • How does your work impact you? Do you know?
  • Does the system in which you work support your wellbeing?
  • How can you have a sustainable career?
  • How do you support your mental health in the context of your work?
  • Who are your supports?

Through discussion, quiet reflection and opportunities for creative expression, this experiential workshop will take a deep dive into your experiences of what it means to be well and have a sustainable career.

Acknowledgement of Country

We acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters throughout Australia, and pay respect to the Elders past, present and emerging. We recognise the importance of connection to culture, land, kinship and community to the health and wellbeing of Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander families. We acknowledge the cultural practices and traditions still carried out today and being passed down to future generations.