Staff Directory

Contact Details


BMus Royal Holloway College, London University
MA Music Therapy
FAMI (Fellow of the Association of Music and Imagery)
Rhythm Breath Lullaby Tier 2 trained


Liz is an HCPC registered music therapist qualifying as such in 2000 after gaining a BMus at London University. She has university and teaching experience in the UK and abroad and is an active member of the music therapy research community. Before becoming a music therapist, she spent time working as a community musician for Community Music Wales in South Wales, working with a variety of client groups. She also mentored other staff and ran trainings as well as managing and setting up projects for them. She was the Music Therapist in CAMHS S Wales for 8 years and for the Cardiff and Vale Music Service for over 10 years before leaving to pursue more varied clinical work in the 3rd sector including projects with young people with mental health issues, asylum seekers and more recently end-of-life care.
Liz also works and manages music therapy projects in Palestine, and is a trainer for Musicians Without Borders. With extensive experience in the field of therapeutic music skill-sharing, Liz is often consulted for advice in this area of work.
Liz is a fully qualified GIM practitioner (Guided Imagery and Music ),a method that focuses on receptive music therapy, enabling clients to effect positive change in their lives through deepening personal awareness and resources.
Working with premature babies and their parents is also part of Liz’s practice, and she has received training form Dr Joanne Loewy in the US in the Rhythm Breath Lullaby method, an internationally renowned method for working with this client group.
Liz is currently pursuing a PhD by portfolio, enquiring into the identity of the C21st Music Therapist as the work remit for our profession broadens. Part of her study is a research project The Singing Unit looking at voicework with parents of premature babies who are hospitalised.


Liz has a wealth of experience with client groups such as PMLD, LD, Autism, Challenging Behaviour, Mental Health Issues, Cross-Cultural Working, end-of-life care and project development. She has worked abroad, notably in Palestine and has also received training from international trainers. She has supervised MA dissertations in a variety of subject. She teaches and leads the MA Music Therapy training as well as teaching on the MA Art Psychotherapy, MSc Play Therapy, LD Nursing and BA and MA Counselling courses.


Course Leader MA Music Therapy
Academic Misconduct Officer


Coombes, E. (2011). Project Bethlehem: Training Educators and Health Workers in the Therapeutic Use of Music in the West Bank. Voices A World Forum for Music Therapy, 11(01). DOI: 10.15845/voices.v11i1.291

Coombes, E., & Elliott, M. (2012). Cymru (Wales): Land of Song. Voices A World Forum for Music Therapy, Column.

Coombes, E., & Tombs-Katz, M. (2015). Interactive Therapeutic Music Skill-Sharing in the West Bank: An Evaluation Rpeort of Project Beit Sahour. Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy.

Coombes, E. (2015). Home is Where the Heart is. In Nordic Conference for Musc Therapy

Coombes, E., & Etmektsoglou, I. (2015). Glimpses Into the Challenges and Opportunities of new training programme; The MA Music Therapy programme at the University of South Wales. Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy, 9(1), 120-127.

Coombes, E. (2016). Let the Music Be With You. Poster session presented at European COnference of Guided Imagery and Music – Athens 2016, Greece.

Coombes, E. (2017). Music Therapy and Trauma: Resilience and Hopefulness in Music Therapy and Therapeutic Music Skillsharing. Paper presented at World Conference of Music Therapy, Tsukuba, Japan.

Coombes, E. (2017). The Importance of Listening – Just Listening. Poster session presented at 4th International Spirituality and Music Education Conference, London, United Kingdom.

Coombes, E. (2018). We All Came From Somewhere. Voices A World Forum for Music Therapy, 18(1).

Coombes, E., & Pickard, B. (2018). Research Into Practice – Exploring How Personal Interests Can Shape Practitioner Identity. Poster session presented at Brisith Association of Music Therapy Conference 2018, London, United Kingdom.

Coombes, E., & Pickard, B. (2018). Let Your Passion Be Your Purpose. Poster session presented at Nordic Music Therapy Congress, Stockholm, Sweden.

Coombes, E., Holden, S., & Evans, K. (2018). Do Problem-Based Learning approaches provide effective educational interventions for music therapy training courses? Experiences from an action research project at the University of South Wales. Approaches: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Music Therapy, First View, [a20180406].

Coombes, E., & Pickard, B. (2018). The Relationship Between Research and Practice: An Exploration Into How Music Therapy Students’ Personal and Research Interests Can Shape Their Practitioner Identity. Poster session presented at USW FLSE Research Conference, Treforest, United Kingdom.

Coombes, E. (2018). The Heart Says No. Paper presented at Nordic Music Therapy Congress, Stockholm, Sweden.

Pickard, B., & Coombes, E. (2018). Enabling Music Therapy Students to Thrive in their Studies by Pursuing Their Passion as a Research Interest. Poster session presented at USW Learning and Teaching Conference 2018, Treforest, United Kingdom.
Dunn, H., Coombes, E., Maclean, E., Mottram, H. and Nugent, J. (2019) Music Therapy and Autism across the lifespan: a spectrum of approaches. London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers

Coombes, E., Maclean, E., Oldfield, A., Roberts, A., & Pickard, B. (2019). Music therapy and autism: a spectrum of approaches across the lifespan – what does this mean for the profession?. European Music Therapy Conference, Aalborg, Denmark.

Coombes, E. (2019). One size does not fit all: cultural considerations in adapting and modifying a music as therapy training programme for Palestinian educators and healthcare workers. Paper presented at European Music Therapy Conference, Aalborg, Denmark.

Coombes, E. and Maclean, E. (Ed.) (2019). Postlude: Music Therapy and Autism Across the Lifespan chapter in:Music Therapy and Autism Across the Lifespan: A Spectrum of Approaches. Jessica Kingsley Publishers.

Coombes, E. (2019). Music therapy improves the health of premature babies and boosts parental bonding. The Conversation .

Coombes, E. (2019). How music therapy can help anxious children. The Conversation .

Coombes, E., & Pickard, B. (2020). Riding in Tandem: Journeying the Research-Teaching Nexus in Partnership. Paper presented at Online Conference for Music Therapy, Online, United Kingdom.



Member of the British Association of Music Therapists
Member of the Training and Education Committee for BAMT
Advisory Panel Member: Music As Therapy International
European Rep on the Global Crisis Intervention Commission for the World Federation of Music Therapy
External Examiner for the MA Music Therapy at Derby University
Book Reviews Editor Approaches – An Interdisciplinary Journal for Music Therapy


External Consultant for Barnardos
Private Consultancy business including supervision


Cross Cultural music therapy
Skill-sharing of interactive music-making techniques
Problem Based Learning
Music Therapy with Premature Babies
The Research/Teaching Nexus

Areas of Expertise

Music Therapy
Premature Babies and their families
Asylum Seekers
Special Needs and Music Therapy
Well Being
Therapeutic Music Making



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