Lecturer, Music Therapy


Division: Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies

Tel: 0131 474 0000

Clare Gillespie (BA (Hons), PG Dip MT (GSMD), MA) is a Lecturer in the Occupational Therapy & Arts Therapies Division.

Clare trained as a music therapist at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London in 1996. Prior to this she spent five years in Bavaria working alongside a music therapist in a specialist neurological facility and as a residential support worker for young adults with severe learning disabilities. On graduation, Clare moved to Scotland and has enjoyed sixteen years in the role of Lead Music Therapist for NHS Borders.  Her clinical experience has encompassed autism, dementia, borderline personality disorder, psychosis and schizophrenia, but her specialist interest remains in learning disabilities.  

Clare works in the Joint Integrated Specialist Adult Learning Disability Service, delivering therapy to people who present with complex psychological difficulties and people with profound and multiple learning disabilities. Her particular interests lie in bereavement and trauma work and she is currently collaborating with colleagues around developing a trauma pathway for people with learning disabilities.  She has also completed three years of the IGA Group Analysis training and is passionate about the role that groups have to play in meeting a wide range of psychological needs.   

Eight years ago Clare set up and continues to chair the Learning Disability team’s CPD committee, which provides invaluable opportunities for shared learning twice a year for all health and social work colleagues in the service. Themes for the days have included transitions, borderline personality disorder, dementia, parents with learning disabilities and trauma.  Clare is passionate about learning, teaching and supervision and has been a Practice Educator for students since 2003.  She is currently working closely with a nurse colleague on a training package for support staff, “Knowing Me, Knowing You”, which focuses on increasing the psychological awareness of staff who support people with learning disabilities who present with behaviours that challenge.

In October 2015 Clare joined the music therapy team at Queen Margaret University on a short-term contract. She is delighted to now be a permanent member of staff on the team.  

Affiliations/Memberships to Other Organisations:

  • British Association of Music Therapists, Health and Care Professionals Council

Clare has undertaken qualitative research in the field of learning disabilities, examining relationships in relation to Quality of Life.

Clare provides input to both years of the Music Therapy Masters programme. Her current focus is teaching year one students and providing group supervision and acting as a Personall Academic Tutor.  She is module co-ordinator for the Therapeutic Skills module.