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Susan Summers, PhD, is a 2014 graduate of the PhD Program in Leadership and Change at Antioch University.

Her dissertation is accompanied by an Author's Introduction MP4 video file and 5 Vocal Portrait MP3 audio files.

Shown below:

Dr. Summers at her Defense in Santa Barbara, May 2014

L-R : Dr. Carolyn Kenny, Dissertation Chair, Dr. Susan Summers, Dr. Jon Wergin, Committee Member

Not pictured : Dr. Sanne Storm, Committee Member, Dr. Randi Rolvsjord, External Reader


voice, singing, healing, change, transformation, intuition, spirituality, identity, community, gender, aesthetic, portraiture, vocal psychotherapy, music therapy, vocal improvisation, toning, wellness, health, authenticity, energetic healing, hello space, healthcare

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The purpose of this study was to explore the personal singing and vocal journey of music therapists who are also trained as vocal psychotherapists with the Austin model of vocal psychotherapy. I was interested in learning how singing has been a healing influence for change and transformation in their lives. It is my hope that this research will offer music therapists new perspectives and information about how singing is important in healing for their own change and transformation, and for that of their clients. This research also may have implications for leaders of change as well as those who engage in vocal and singing groups, choirs and projects. Foundational literature relates to topics such as vocal improvisation, vocal psychotherapy, therapeutic singing lessons, sound healing, and singing for health and wellness, but no research exists that specifically explores the healing influence of singing as experienced by music/vocal psychotherapists nor the full spectrum of healing domains (energetic, emotional, physiological, etc.). I gathered data by recorded in-person or Skype interviews with five Canadian music/vocal psychotherapists, and analyzed the data from the interviews using portraiture. Five MP3 audio files are embedded within and are attached to the dissertation. A video recorded MP4 author introduction is included. The electronic version of this dissertation is at AURA, and OhioLink ETD Center,


Dr. Susan Summers

Susan Summers, PhD, MTA is a music therapist with over 25 years of experience with adults and older adults in community, residential care, and end of life hospice care. She is on faculty at Capilano University in North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, teaching in the music therapy program. Susan’s research interest embraces her specialized training and experience in music vocal psychotherapy and energetic healing practices to articulate how singing can be a healing influence for personal change and transformation.

Susan offers leadership on many charitable and professional association boards and is a regular, invited lecturer in Germany. She is a professionally trained singer and musician, holds two bachelors degrees in Physical Education and Education from the University of Calgary (Alberta); post-graduate training in special education from U of C, a Masters of Music Therapy degree from Thompson Rivers University (British Columbia), and a PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University.

Audio_File_4.01_Claire_vocal_portrait.mp3 (2520 kB)
Audio File 4.01 - Claire vocal portrait

Audio_File_4.02_Kathy_vocal_portrait.mp3 (2419 kB)
Audio File 4.02 Kathy vocal portrait

Audio_File_4.03_Catherine_vocal_portrait.mp3 (2997 kB)
Audio File 4.03 Catherine vocal portrait

Audio_File_4.04_Chloe_vocal_portrait.mp3 (1130 kB)
Audio File 4.04 Chloe vocal portrait

Audio_File_4.05_Susie_vocal_portrait.mp3 (2841 kB)
Audio File 4.05 Susie vocal portrait

Author_Introduction_Summers.mp4 (14117 kB)
Author Introduction Summers