We are excited to welcome Jessica Neilsen to the Find Your Voice Music Therapy: Katarokwi/ Kingston, Ontario team! Grateful to Jessica for her beautiful energy and dynamic perspectives as we provide music therapy/ counselling services and connect with the people in our communities.
Jessica completed her Masters of Music Psychotherapy (2014-2016) and Bachelors of Music Composition at Wilfrid Laurier University (2007-2012). In addition, she has a diploma in Early Childhood Education (2013-2014). She has experience working in mental health with people of all ages, including people living with schizophrenia, mood disorders, and in forensic inpatient units. Jessica also has experience working with children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder, dementia care, palliative care and grief care. Jessica uses a client-centred, music-centred approach in working with clients. She uses various flutes, her voice, the piano, guitar, drums and acoustic and electroacoustic composition to help her clients express themselves through music.
How did your journey as an Certified Music Therapist begin?
Before I was comfortable and mature enough to have an identity of my own, I felt comfortable under the label of ‘musician’. I come from a musical family who gave me many opportunities to take lessons, perform and to get to know my community through participating in concerts and practices with local musicians. When it was time for me to decide the next steps after high school, I discovered new ways of expressing through studying music composition in university and creating a band where I started to create music and lyrics of my own. This was very fulfilling for me.
I have always felt very grateful that these opportunities were given to me, and I decided that I wanted to express this gratitude and pass along my love and understanding of communicating through the medium of music with others. This journey led me to become an Early Childhood Educator first, working in Early Year Centres and connecting parents and their children with community resources, and eventually deciding to go back to school to become an Certified Music Therapist, as I found myself using music daily in my teaching and wanted to learn more about the ‘why’s’ of it’s profound effect.
What did you do after your training as an Certified Music Therapist and why?
After my training as an Certified Music Therapist, I was honoured to become part of the team at the Canadian Music Therapy Trust in Toronto and used my training as a clinical therapist and educator to work as a full-time music therapist and present about music therapy. Recently moving to Kingston, I have enjoyed presenting the benefits of music therapy and my clinical research to different facilities and am very excited to join the Find Your Voice Music Therapy team and go back into clinical work.
What are you passionate about in music therapy?
I am extremely passionate about equality and advocating for those around me through sharing supportive musical compositions, creating a safe place for my clients to express in, and speaking at conferences/in the community on the benefits of music therapy. As music is a universal language, music therapy can bypass the need to use speech to communicate with clients, and clients of all abilities and musical levels can benefit. Music therapy is helping people express and communicate their needs through the medium of music and I feel lucky to be able to help others express through music and truly believe in the power of this connection. I use a person-centered, research based, psychotherapeutic approach with my clients.
What do you hope to accomplish through your work music therapy?
I hope to support our Kingston (and surrounding areas) communities through music therapy services and to help reduce the stigma around people receiving mental health care.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Phone: 416-471-8286