Laurien Hakvoort

Dr. Laurien Hakvoort is a Dutch registered music therapist and Neurologic music therapy fellow. She completed her bachelor’s in creative arts therapies (specializing in music), her master’s in music therapy (with voice as her major) and completed a PhD in forensic psychology. She is lecturer of music therapy approaches at the music therapy department of ArtEZ University of the Arts in the bachelor and (pre)master program for 25 years. In addition, she is a freelance researcher and guest lecture at University Palackého in Olomouci, Czech Republic. For 17 years she was a music therapist in forensic psychiatry and currently runs her private music therapy practice, She published various (inter)national articles and (chapters in) books.

Abstract of presentation: BREATH, RHYTHM, SHARE, AND MAKE SPACE; Some working mechanisms of the arts therapies in trauma treatment

In this keynote Laurien will emphasize how using breathing, rhythms, and making space can support trauma treatment of people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after complex trauma. Although most examples will be from a music therapy perspective these core mechanisms offer space for translation to arts therapies like art, drama, and dance therapy.

This keynote will address a case study of Thomas, a Japanese camp-survivor. Using breathing, rhythm, and making space during music therapy allowed Thomas to regain control over his body and mind and share his experiences. This keynote will address how awareness of working mechanisms of arts therapies can support arts therapists to help clients with complex trauma to calm down their hyperarousal states which have limited their ability to function.

Trauma-informed arts therapy treatment involves rhythm, breathing and in the case of music therapy voice to encourage a client to change ingrained patterns of avoidance and anxiety. Thomas learned to apply rhythmical exercises and body percussion to reinforce body awareness. The breathing and singing exercises in which he engaged and his desire to make music allowed him to express and share emotions—two of the most precarious responses to show in the Japanese camps. Thomas found focusing his attention on a single task very threatening, because his nervous system made him alert to all intrusions in his surroundings. As a result of music attention control training (Thaut & Gardiner, 2014), he increased his ability to sustain his focused attention without spiraling into anxiety. This presentation will contain practical exercises.

For more information please read: Hakvoort, L. (2019). Rhythm to beat trauma; A trauma-informed approach for music therapy with a Japanese internment camp-survivor. Music Therapy Today, 15(1), 46-56.


Breathing is the basic ground for all vocalizations. Adding simple sounds or even words in rhythmical patterns to it, allows us to make music. This is the basic idea of Hip-hop music and rap, a popular genre among adolescents and (young) adults. This workshop will hand the participants practical and basic skills to apply rap and hip hop as a musical tool for behavioral and emotional change of clients.

Objective: This workshop is intended for music therapist with limited expertise or skills with rap and hip hop but who realize the potential of rap in their treatment. It will provide the participants with first experience of a Rap Music Therapy approach.

Methods: Rap Music Therapy is a music therapy approach with the emphasis on the musical elements of rap music, such as breathing, specific rhythm, dynamics, and expression. Rap Music Therapy aims to bypass text analysis of rap songs, to engage clients in musically addressing their challenges while staying in touch with their breath. Treatment goals that are targeted with this approach are related to improving self-esteem, self-confidence, a (better) expression of emotions, as well as behavioral change, anger-management, and stress-regulation.

Discussion: Although the Rap Music Therapy approach is developed within the context of forensic psychiatry, it can also be useful for other client populations for whom hip-hop and rap compose important parts of clients’ musical interests. Rap can be a very good starting point for a therapeutic treatment.

For more information please read: Hakvoort, L. (2015). Rap Music Therapy in Forensic Psychiatry: Emphasis on the Musical Approach to Rap. Music Therapy Perspectives, 33 (2), 184-192.