Elizabeth York

Professor Emerita of Music Therapy

Dr. York retired in 2018.

Elizabeth York established the music therapy program at Converse in 2005. Before coming to Converse, she served for ten years as director of the music therapy program at Utah State University, Logan, UT. Her career spans the breadth of music therapy experience as a clinician, educator, researcher and performer. She brings more than thirty years of music therapy practice to the classroom. She has worked extensively with children and adults with developmental disabilities at Glenrose Hospital School, Edmonton Alberta, CA and Brook Run, Atlanta, GA. Recent clinical experience has been devoted to adults with mental illness.  In that capacity, she practiced in several outpatient programs in Atlanta and served as clinician at the Miami VA Medical Center, the Georgia Mental Health Institute, Atlanta, GA.

A longtime member of the National Association of Music Therapy and the American Music Therapy Association, Dr. York has made numerous presentations at international, national and regional conferences. Topics of recent presentations include research with women survivors of domestic violence (AMTA, 2010, World Congress of Music Therapy, 2005); ethical issues in music therapy (Expressive Arts Summit, New York, 2010); the development of a music therapy assessment tool for persons with Probable Alzheimer’s Disease (Residual Music Skills Test, York, 1995, York, 2000, and Lipe and York, 2006); and improvisational methods with adults.  Her presentations include guest lectures at the Welsh College of Music and Drama, Cardiff, Wales (2000); St Anne’s Hospital, London (2000); the Gifu Music Therapy and Research Center, Gifu, Japan (1996). A chapter on her work with women survivors is included in Feminist Perspectives in Music Therapy (Hadley, Ed., 2007). Dr. York currently serves as Co-Chair of the Ethics Board of AMTA. She is Immediate Past President of the Music Therapy Association of South Carolina and is President of the Southeastern Region of AMTA. She continues to serve as consultant to the SC State Recognition Task Force, a national effort to legislate the education, credential and continuing education requirements of the music therapy profession.

Dr. York has been the recipient of numerous grants and awards. At Utah State University, she was the recipient of a faculty research grant to study the reliability of the Residual Music Skills Test (1996). A Gardner Travel Grant continued her study of improvisational music therapy in Great Britain (2000). In 2002-03, she received a Post-Doctoral Fellowship from the American Association of University Women which funded sabbatical research with women survivors of domestic violence. In 2004-05, she was awarded a Community University Research Initiative grant from USU that allowed her to continue music therapy research with women and children served in a shelter setting. This research is still in progress. The performance piece (“Finding Voice,” 2003) developed during this research has been performed in fifteen venues in Utah and South Carolina, with the most recent student production at Converse College (2009) funded by a Converse Creative Collaboration Grant. In 2011, she received a second Creative Collaboration Grant with Professor Geri Hurlbut that supported a joint music therapy/art therapy service learning trip to Kings Hospital and Kings Garden School in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

An improvisational pianist, folk guitarist, singer and songwriter, Dr. York has been recognized by the National Association of Independent Record Distributors for her album “Transformations” on Ladyslipper Records. In 2004, she received the USU award for Creative Artist of the Year, and in the same year received the President’s Diversity Award (USU, 2004). She has received Professional Practice Awards from both the Western and Southeast Regions of the American Music Therapy Association.