music therapy
C4 Events is honored to present a series of workshops at CORE that highlight music therapy and therapeutic uses of music. Recent studies show us that music has healing effects in recovery from Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders. This series of workshops will explore the clinical and evidence-based use of music as applied within a therapeutic setting.


Featured Facilitators

Jim Borling
Cheryl Dileo
Susan Gardstrom
James Hiller


John McAndrew
Kathleen Murphy
Troy Pulas
Mary Woods


The following workshops are a part of the Music, Mind, & Healing Track. Please refer to the brochure to view the entire conference agenda:


225. Music Therapy in Early Recovery
Monday, 10:45 AM – 12:15 PM
Kathleen Murphy, PhD, MT-BC
Supported by: Loyola University-New Orleans

Level of Instruction: Intermediate

This session will provide an overview of music therapy and addictions treatment. The neurobiology of engagement in music listening and music making and its effect on reward circuitry will be explained. A review of research findings supporting the inclusion of music therapy in treatment will be presented. Case examples will be presented to demonstrate how music therapists address the biophysical, psychoemotional and psychospiritual domains of recovery. Criteria for referral to music therapy will be presented, along with suggestions for the use of music by professionals working in substance abuse treatment. Attendees will have the opportunity to participate in music therapy experiences used in substance abuse treatment.


250. Music’s Healing Power in Recovery in Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders
Monday, 12:15 PM – 1:45 PM
John McAndrew
Mary Woods, MA, NH
Troy Pulas, MD
Supported by: Cumberland Heights and WestBridge Family Services

Level of Instruction: Introductory/Intermediate

Recent studies show us that music has healing effects as well as triggering effect in recovery from Co-Occurring Mental Illness and Substance Use Disorders. When we hear music, Dopamine is released in the brain that creates pleasure and we know that memories are associated with music which can trigger happiness or trauma. This session will review how music and music therapy can be applied in a variety of treatment settings to bring about therapeutic change. John will perform several compositions to describe the events in Recovery that make a difference people with dual diagnosis disorders.


275. Let It All Go: Music Therapy with Women With Addictions
Monday, 4:15 PM – 5:45 PM
Susan Gardstrom, PhD, MT-BC
Supported by: University of Dayton

Level of Instruction: Intermediate/Advanced

In this workshop, the profession of music therapy will be briefly defined and training requirements outlined. Attendees will learn about objectivist and interpretivist research that supports the use of music therapy with individuals with addictions. Experience-oriented music therapy will be defined and specific treatment aims and benefits for women in residential treatment highlighted, with emphases on not only what therapists perceive as advantageous, but also what service-users themselves identify as useful in their treatment process and ongoing recovery. The presenter will describe music therapy on a 28-day, women-only unit and engage attendees in listening, composing, performing, and improvising experiences employed regularly on the unit. Suggestions for the use of music by other professionals will be offered.


300. Panel and Experience on Music Therapy for Addictions Treatment
Tuesday, 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Cheryl Dileo, PhD, MT-BC
Kathleen Murphy, PhD, MT-BC
Susan Gardstrom, PhD, MT-BC
James Hiller, PhD, MT-BC
Jim Borling, MM, MT-BC, FAMI
Supported by: Temple University, Loyola University-New Orleans, University of Dayton

Level of Instruction: Introductory/Intermediate

This panel will comprise 5 music therapy university educators and authors with experience in addictions treatment or related areas. It is suggested that this be a lunchtime presentation. there will be a brief overview of the uses of music therapy for addictions treatment with some examples of music therapy experiences, including lyric analysis and music therapy improvisation.


325. Music Therapy with Men in a Residential Substance Abuse Treatment Facility
Tuesday, 10:45 AM – 12:15 PM
James Hiller, PhD, MT-BC
Supported by: University of Dayton

Level of Instruction: Intermediate/Advanced

This experiential and didactic session draws on an approach to providing music therapy for a 28-35 day Men’s Residential Unit of an SUD treatment facility in Dayton, OH. This work draws on music-centered, cognitive, psychodynamic, and resource-oriented perspectives, focusing on both experiencing music for self-learning and examining music as a healthy resource for post-treatment maintenance of sobriety. Attendees will experience music engagement strategies that fall under Improvisational, Receptive (i.e., listening), and Composition Methods aimed toward enhanced self-understanding and coping. This “integral” approach (Wilbur, 1993, Bruscia, 2014) draws from a music-centered perspective focusing on engagement in creative, expressive, and relational music experiences with subsequent verbal processing of experiences at varying levels depending on group dynamics and individual readiness and in accordance with the most relevant perspective in the moment such as cognitive, psychodynamic, or resource-oriented concepts. Music therapy concepts that may enhance work in verbal and other modalities will be examined.


375. Music Therapy in Addiction Treatment: Strategies for physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery
Tuesday, 4:15 PM – 5:45 PM
Jim Borling, MM, MT-BC, FAMI
Supported by: Radford University

Level of Instruction: Intermediate/Advanced

This session will use both didactic and experiential methods to give attendees a solid foundation of the role of music therapy in the treatment setting. This session will discuss the theories that inform the clinical work including constructs and principles from CBT, existential/humanistic, psychodynamic, and transpersonal models.

The session will begin with a brief overview of the addictive process and current understanding of substance use disorders followed by a discussion of how music therapy can support a 12-step approach on the levels of bio-physical, psycho-emotional and psycho-spiritual recovery. The use of song discussion and mindfulness to explore themes related to the 12-steps and the use of music and imagery to address physical, emotional, and spiritual recovery will be illustrated with clinical examples. The session will include a general review of the research evidence supporting music therapy in substance dependence treatment.

  • CORE is an excellent conference for networking and business development, with a great blend of programs and attendees, we always see positive returns on our investment of time and energy.

  • The vast and diverse knowledge, the presenters' expertise and skills in presenting, and the relevance of all the workshops made CORE a feast for our minds, souls, and spirits!

  • Overall this was a wonderful conference. Terrific facility, excellent educational sessions, friendly and responsive staff, and great food!

  • Enjoyed this conference a lot. Good message Good trainings. Good exercises.

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1/2) Well, that's a wrap on our WCSAD virtual conference, and what a great experience! We would like to thank everyone who participated and helped us make it a memorable event.