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Wilfrid Laurier University Faculty of  Music
October 26, 2016
Canadian Excellence

Dr. Heidi Ahonen-Eerikainen
Dr. Heidi Ahonen-Eerikainen

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Faculty of Music

Laurier hosts Canada’s first symposium on music psychotherapy

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

May 6/05| For Immediate Release


Dr. Heidi Ahonen-Eerikainen
Director, Laurier Centre for Music Therapy Research
(519) 884-0710 ext 2431

WATERLOO – International music psychotherapists will gather at Wilfrid Laurier University from May 13 to 15 for a conference unique to Canada. Presenters will try to establish music psychotherapy as a viable treatment for patients.

This symposium, entitled The Royal Road to the Unconscious: Researching Unconscious Dimensions in Music Therapy, aims to raise awareness of the positive effects music can have on patients suffering from psychological disorders. Psychotherapists from around the world will discuss various techniques and theories for using music as a treatment to allow patients to express their emotions. They will show that music, as a clinical tool for analyzing a patient’s unconsciousness, can be as effective as dreams.

“Music therapy should be a regulated health care profession in Canada and we will prove that with this symposium,” says Heidi Ahonen-Eerikainen. “We will bring in evidence that music can be psychotherapeutic and it can be even more therapeutic than just words alone. We want to show Canada that music is a powerful tool in psychotherapy.”

Ahonen-Eerikainen is the director of the Laurier Centre for Music Therapy Research (LCMTR) and an associate professor at Laurier. She completed her education in Finland and its capital of Helsinki, and is one of the only therapists in Canada to practice music psychotherapy.

Michele Forinash, an associate professor at Lesley University in Massachusetts and president-elect of the American Music Therapy Association, will deliver a keynote address entitled Transformation Moments on Music Therapy: The Impetus for Research at 10:15 a.m. on Friday. Saturday’s keynote speaker is Liz Mofitt, who will present her lecture Music’s Power to Evoke Imagery that Heals at 9 a.m. Discussion of the topic will follow each speaker.

Sunday’s program involves a series of shorter parallel sessions on topics that range from Researching Time Structures in Autism to the Effects of Music on Patients Undergoing General Anesthesia.

For more information on the conference, please visit the program found at

Music therapy is already an established practice in European and Scandinavian countries. In Finland, the national health care system recognizes the effectiveness of music psychotherapy and finances it for its patients.

The LCMTR was established in 2003 to bring together researchers and clinical practitioners to further advance music therapy. It is the first university-based centre of its kind in Canada.


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