AHSS Lunchtime Research Seminar - Mini Symposium on addiction treatment service provision in the UK and music therapy

Events — Talk Online
15 December 2021, 12:30

Daniel Murtagh & Devon de Silva, Innovation and Research Unit, Westminster Drug Project, London

Paul Fernie & Filippo Pasqualitto, PhD students at CIMTR, ARU

In this presentation delivered by WDP, a charity providing drug and alcohol addiction treatment across the UK, we’ll explain how the UK’s substance use treatment sector works. From a provider’s perspective, we’ll highlight and discuss the treatment intervention and approaches WDP takes, including community and in-patient services, our user populations, and how we engage with marginalised groups (including the homeless, women and BAME communities) as well as young people.

We’ll also be talking about the WDP’s Innovation and Research Unit and our current projects; including our partner project with ARU’s CIMTR. The IRU works to bridge the gap between academia and frontline delivery and deliver exciting new interventions and products to help improve outcomes for service users and staff.  

Recent systematic reviews showed that music therapy reduces craving, a crucial problem for the recovery from addiction. Finding out how that works is at the centre of two PhD projects researching music therapy in addiction treatment together with IRU at WDP. Both PhD projects focus on different aspects. While Filippo is keen to find out how music therapy acts on brain processing to explain craving reduction, Paul will look into the music therapy delivery and how we can utilise Electronic Music Production Instruments to document and analyse the instances in which music therapy works. 


Daniel Murtagh is the Innovation and Research Officer for WDP, a national substance misuse service provider. The Innovation and Research Unit (IRU) works with academic partners to develop/implement/evaluate projects/processes that impact recovery. Daniel’s current research interests include evaluating Music Therapy within community services, and harm-reduction methods for emerging drug threats.

Devon De Silva manages WDP’s IRU and has extensive experience of working with academic partners, project management and business development. Devon’s research interests involve conceptualising/implementing innovative pilots that are evaluated using mixed methods; determining feasibility/impact. Devon’s existing portfolio includes evaluating/implementing WDP’s Capital Card, GLOVES, Animal Assisted Therapy and Open Dialogue.

Paul Fernie is a Postgraduate Researcher located within the Cambridge Institute of Music Therapy Research. His area of interest is in the use of Electronic Music Production Instruments (EMPIs) in music therapy practice. His current research explores the experiences of participants where EMPIs are at the centre of the intervention design.

Filippo Pasqualitto is a VC PhD student at the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research (CIMTR), ARU. His research focuses on the study of emotion, craving and state-dependent recall in addiction treatment utilising subjective measures (single- and multi-item questionnaires), behavioural measures and EEG to record the brain's electrical activity.

A hand raised in an audience.
A hand raised in an audience.

Event contact: jorg.fachner@aru.ac.uk