Tessa Watson

Tessa Watson

  • 3006 Parkstead House, Whitelands


Research activity per year

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Personal profile


Associate Professor and Convenor of the MA Music Therapy programme. Tessa is a qualified music therapist, registered with HCPC. Her clinical experience is extensive, including work with the elderly, in forensic mental health, and with young people and adults with learning disabilities. Her current clinical work is at Alexander Devine Children's Hospice.

Tessa’s research interests are diverse including clinical work with adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities, multi-disciplinary work and work with carers, and the development of theories of learning and teaching in the training of Music Therapists. Tessa has a PG Cert in Higher Education, during her studies she researched into the student experience on the Roehampton course. 

As well as her interests in research Tessa has contributed to the development of the profession through her work with British Association for Music Therapy (BAMT) and European Music Therapy Confederation (EMTC).

Tessa has been one of the Editors of the British Journal Music Therapy since 2013. Tessa enjoys writing and speaking about her work and speaks at conferences internationally and in the UK. She also leads workshops and masterclasses on writing in the UK and internationally. Tessa is an HCPC partner working on the CPD scheme and fitness to practice panels, and a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Some notable publications are ‘Supporting the Unplanned Journey’ in Collaboration and Assistance in Music Therapy Practice, London; Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2017), ‘The World is Alive! Music Therapy with Adults with Learning Disabilities’ in the Oxford Handbook of Music Therapy, OUP (2016), Integrated Team Working: Music Therapy as Part of Transdisciplinary and Collaborative Approaches, London; Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2008) with Karen Twyford, and Music Therapy with Adults with Learning Disabilities, London; Routledge (2007).


BA (Hons), MA, SRAT (M), PGCLT (HE).

Research interests

Research interests include work with adults with profound and multiple learning disabilities, group work and the student experience during training.

Research projects

Clinical work experience:

Tessa has over 25 years of clinical work experience in varied settings. In the area of psychiatry she has worked with the elderly, in adult acute and rehabilitative care, and in forensic settings. In the area of learning disabilities she has worked with clients with a wide range of disabilities, including those with profound and multiple learning disabilities, aspergers syndrome, and a dual diagnosis of mental health and learning disability. Tessa has experience of training and supervising diverse groups of staff, and has managed teams of therapists and health staff within the NHS. Her current clinical work is with Alexander Devine Children's Hospice.

Professional affiliations

Registered with HCPC, member of BAMT, Senior Fellow of HEA

External positions

Editor, British Journal of Music Therapy

2013 → …