Music Therapy Conversations - Alphonso Archer

Episode 77 - 23 August 2023
Topics: Music Therapy in General, Training, Diversity

Luke speaks to music therapist Alphonso Archer about his career in music, music education, music therapy, and football coaching.

Luke spoke to music therapist Alphonso Archer about his career in music, music education, music therapy, and football coaching. This has included big personal challenges, inspiring moments and the development of innovative and creative approaches.

Alphonso says:

I spent over 25 years immersed in IT, Software, and Artificial Intelligence, building a career rooted in technological expertise. However, a personal diagnosis of prostate cancer and a brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM) in 2016 marked a pivotal moment, guiding me towards the world of music therapy.

My transition was also profoundly influenced by my personal experiences. Growing up with a father diagnosed with schizophrenia offered me firsthand insights into the complexities of mental health. My academic exploration in this area led to a dissertation titled "Ambiguities in the Diagnosis of Schizophrenia Amongst Ethnic Minorities", shedding light on mental health nuances within the black community.

I trained as a music therapist at the University of the West of England (UWE), graduating with distinction in 2022. As a newly qualified freelance music therapist, I work with neurodiverse children, particularly those with autism and other co-occurring conditions. My therapeutic approach also encompasses adults with autism and those managing mental health challenges. Collaborating with a cancer charity, I facilitate music therapy sessions tailored for those navigating the aftermath of a cancer diagnosis.

I am publishing my master's dissertation, which centres on "How Black Men Use Music to Cope with the Psychosocial Symptoms of Their Prostate Cancer Post Treatment". This research underscores my interest and commitment to understanding the intricate connections between music, therapy, race, and health outcomes.

At the 2022 European Music Therapy Conference, I had the opportunity to co-present with Dr Kate Jones, who introduced her music therapy toolkit designed for children with selective mutism. I was also involved in workshops and discussions surrounding race and belonging, social dreaming matrix and shared my thoughts on the future trajectory of the music therapy profession.

Music has been a constant as a multi-instrumentalist, starting in church and rich experiences such as playing guitar in the Derbyshire Youth Jazz Orchestra to jazz piano lessons with composer and recitalist James Harpham. For over two decades, I have taught piano, guitar and bass, instruments that I've been connected to since my early years.

You can contact me via my new website:
Twitter: @AlphieArcher