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Wolfson Institute of Population Health

Dr Catherine Carr, PhD PGDip Music Therapy, Music Imagery Therapist


Senior Clinical Lecturer in Music Therapy



I am a Senior Clinical Lecturer in Music Therapy at the Centre for Psychiatry and Mental Health and Music Therapist at East London NHS Foundation Trust. I teach and supervise MA in Music Therapy students at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and represent the British Association for Music Therapy on the Council for Allied Health Professions Research (CAHPR) as well as serving on a number of committees for research funding and the editorial board for the journal Music & Science.

I am a co-founder of the Alliance for Recovery Research in Music Therapy (ARRIMT), an international network of service users and music therapists and the International Music Therapy Clinical Trials Network (IMTCT-Net), which seeks to share learning and enable collaboration for future clinical trials.

I supervise PhD students on topics relating to arts therapies and mental health, including intervention development, funded by Barts Charity.

Biography: I initially studied Music Technology at the University of York, before training as a music therapist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. My first study was a pilot randomised controlled trial of group music therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. Since then, I have held a number of NIHR awards including a Clinical Doctoral Research Fellowship at Queen Mary University of London which focused upon modelling of processes and outcomes of intensive group music therapy for acute adult psychiatric inpatients, an NIHR Clinical Lectureship and a further study on group songwriting for chronic depression (SYNCHRONY study), funded by NIHR Research for Patient Benefit. These studies have developed concepts of group music therapy for different clinical environments and populations. In 2019, I completed an NIHR Clinical Trials Fellowship at the Pragmatic Clinical Trials Unit at QMUL and I am now leading a multicentre trial- the ERA study, funded by the NIHR HTA programme in collaboration with East London NHS Foundation Trust.

My clinical work is based in Mental Health Care for Older People’s services in East London NHS Foundation Trust, where I provide group and individual music therapy, alongside staff psychological supervision. I have completed Level 4 training in the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery in Music and also Music Imagery methods.


Lecturer and Research Supervisor, MA in Music Therapy, Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Postgraduate Teaching


Nicki Power (Clinical Doctoral Fellow); Funder: Barts Charity; ‘Group art therapy for people with mental distress and intellectual disability.’

Megan Tjasink (Clinical Doctoral Fellow); Funder: Barts Charity; ‘Art Therapy to address burnout in NHS clinicians - A randomized controlled trial.’

Eleanor Keiller (Clinical Doctoral Fellow); Funder: Barts Charity; ‘Assessing the feasibility, acceptability and potential effectiveness of dramatherapy in youth anxiety and depression.’

External PhD Supervisor:

Harmony Jiang, University of Greenwich: Developing, evaluating and implementing a caregiver-delivered nature-based intervention to improve the wellbeing of people living with mild cognitive impairment and early-moderate stage dementia and their caregivers

Marcy Palejova, Anglia Ruskin University: Integrative music therapy for psychedelic-assisted treatments.


Research Interests:

My research focuses upon evaluating processes and outcomes in music therapy and wider arts therapies through mixed methods, process evaluation and randomised controlled trials to better understand how music therapy can help to improve the lives of people living with mental illness.

I have particular interests in:

- Developing and testing music therapy and wider arts therapies to meet mental health needs in specific clinical contexts

- Understanding the experiences and views of patients

- Building capacity for patient and public engagement in music therapy research

- Developing methods to capture the role of music and other art forms in therapeutic processes.



Power N, Harrison TL, Hackett S, Carr C (2023). Art therapy as a treatment for adults with learning disabilities who are experiencing mental distress: A configurative systematic review with narrative synthesis. The Arts in Psychotherapy vol. 86, 10.1016/j.aip.2023.102088

Carr C, Medlicott E, Hooper R, Feng Y, Mihaylova B, Priebe S (2023). Effectiveness of group arts therapies (art therapy, dance movement therapy and music therapy) compared to group counselling for diagnostically heterogeneous psychiatric community patients: Study protocol for a randomised controlled trial in mental health services (the ERA study). Trials vol. 24, Article 557, 10.1186/s13063-023-07232-0

Carr CE, Millard E, Dilgul M, Bent C, Wetherick D, French J, Priebe S (2023). Group music therapy with songwriting for adult patients with long-term depression (SYNCHRONY study): a feasibility and acceptability study of the intervention and parallel randomised controlled trial design with wait-list control and nested process evaluation. Pilot and Feasibility Studies vol. 9,(1) 10.1186/s40814-023-01285-3

Power N, Millard E, Activists and Artists at the Lawnmowers Independent Theater Company, Carr C (2022). Un-Labelling the Language: Exploring Labels, Jargon and Power through Participatory Arts Research with Arts Therapists and People with Learning Disabilities. Voices A World Forum for Music Therapy vol. 22, (3) 10.15845/voices.v22i3.3391

Carr C, Feldtkeller B, French J, Havsteen-Franklin D, Huet V, Karkou V, Priebe S, Sandford S (2020). What makes us the same? What makes us different? Development of a shared model and manual of group therapy practice across art therapy, dance movement therapy and music therapy within community mental health care. The Arts in Psychotherapy Article 101747, 101747 - 101747. 10.1016/j.aip.2020.101747

View all of Catherine's Research Publications at:

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