The Los Angeles Method at the 4th International Scientific Conference.

A few months ago, after a long discussion about the Los Angeles Method and how the Arts can be therapeutic, I was invited by Ms. Dora Psaltopoulou-PhD, MA-CMT and the Aristotle University in Greece to join the 4th International Scientific Conference “Creative Arts Interconnection Paideia-Therapy” and present the Los Angeles Method.

The moment arrived.  On March 19th I flew from Amsterdam to Greece.  I was very excited to return to my country and present my work in such a distinguished environment.

Ms. Psaltopoulou runs the only Music Therapy Department in the country. Unfortunately the people responsible are not aware yet of the fact that Arts can be the solution to many challenges.  The Arts can cure practically anything, since all the challenges we are facing, whether they are physical or psychological, are based on the emotions we are having. Arts deal with exactly that; our emotions. They help us understand who we are and how we can achieve our full potential. This goes beyond therapy. Great multinational companies, pioneers in their field, are now preferring candidates with MFAs rather than MBAs. ( for more info you can check out our post “An MFA better than an MBA“). © Copyright 2009- 2015, Theodora Voutsa


The chair of the conference, Ms.Psaltopoulou, has pioneered Music Therapy in Greece since 1992, and founded the Music Therapy Centre of Thessaloniki. She is a certified music therapist CMT (AMTA) and holds a PhD and a MA (NYU,NU,USA). Her clinical work includes neurosis, psychosis, autism and community music therapy. © Copyright 2009- 2015, Theodora Voutsa photo by Thanasis Moutsianas


I am very honoured to have shared the stage with Pr. Barbara Hesser- CMT,LCAT, FAMI.  Prof. Hesser is the Director of the Music Therapy program at New York University.  In this capacity she coordinates the Master’s and Doctoral Degree programs of NYU. She is the program director of the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Centre and has served as President of the American Association for Music Therapy (AAMT).

Prof. Hesser opened the conference. Her speech was about our “Healthy Potential”. We are all born with a healthy potential- our true nature. As Maslow states, we all need and have creativity and aliveness. If someone has mental, physical, emotional problems- these problems stand blocks to their Healthy Potential. It is those people, with these problems (mental, physical, emotional), that music helps them express their Inner Healthy Potential.

Prof. Hesser talked about the benefits and the life changing effects of the Arts and specifically Music Therapy; using as an example young Joshua. We first saw a short video of a young boy, 5 or 6 years old, in a room with a piano. A young man was playing the piano and another was singing, but the boy did not respond. The boy did not want to be touched and was completely secluded from its environment. The next video, shot some days later, shows Joshua being held by one of the therapists and singing along, even touching the piano and creating sounds.  Before we go on, prof. Hesser explains to us that Joshua is a blind autistic child.

Understanding the challenges that an autistic child faces and adding to that the blindness, one can realise the great progress that was achieved in a short period of time through music.  Through the videos, you begin to see a response, a vocalisation in tune with the music. Joshua is singing, Joshua is having a good time and Joshua reacts and does what the lyrics say.

In another video we see Joshua having a tantrum. The therapist playing the piano, follows through the music Joshua’s tantrum and gradually guides him to a more serene place, and Joshua follows and collaborates to the music. The music relaxes him. Joshua accepts the music.

Joshua, a blind, autistic kid, feels confident and allows himself to heal through music. He feels safer, accepted, calm and trusts himself and his environment. Joshua found a sense of rhythm, a desire to vocalise, an ability to play the piano, spontaneity, joy, pleasure and the ability to focus.  All that through music. He developed a new aspect of himself through Art. A new self concept was developed. He moved from wanting to control his environment to collaborating and improvising.

At the beginning Joshua would describe himself as disabled, unaccepted and unworthy.  Now all that has changed; he understands himself as being loved, accepted and able for anything.

Joshua experienced the Expansion of Being through the Arts.

If Joshua can do it, what is stopping you? © Copyright 2009- 2015, Theodora Voutsa. photo by Thanasis Moutsianas © Copyright 2009- 2015, Theodora Voutsa. photo by Thanasis Moutsianas

The next day I presented the Los Angeles Method. We talked about how our lives are the movies we write, direct and star in; how we are 100% responsible of our reality- since we are the ones creating it.

Acting is about our truth, it is not about pretending. I must first know who I am, what do I want, what kind of “tools” do I have- in order to be able to serve the role.  These are the techniques we teach “non actors” ( I am using quotation marks even though we are all Acting on our lives, we are all actors).

We play many roles throughout a day, we are not only one character. The techniques help you distinguish the different objectives and create different maps to achieve them all. (If you wish to read more on the Los Angeles Method, you can follow the link.)

We talked about our theatre project and how the Art of Theatre can be therapeutic and liberating. ( You can read more about the Theatre Project here.) © Copyright 2009- 2015, Theodora Voutsa. photo by Thanasis Moutsianas © Copyright 2009- 2015, Theodora Voutsa. photo by Thanasis Moutsianas

It was a wonderful experience working with all the participants in the Los Angeles Method Workshop. Their commitment and dedication were memorable. Most of the participants are studying towards the degree of Music Therapy. It makes you feel happy and trustful knowing that such able, committed and devoted individuals will be “released” into society soon to help others. The world is about to become a better place, and we can all be part of the process. © Copyright 2009- 2015, Theodora Voutsa. photo by Thanasis Moutsianas


It was a very rewarding experience.

My gratitude and appreciation to Ms.Dora Psaltopoulou-PhD,MA-CMT, Mr. Nikolaos Zafranas-PhD,MA,BA, Ms. Margarita Hatzinassiou-MA-NRMT and everyone on the organising Committee of the 4th International Scientific Conference of the Aristotle University, “Creative Arts Interconnection Paideia-Therapy”.

My special thanks to Mr. Yiannis Kaminis for taking care of all the important details that make the difference- and Mr. Th. Moutsianas for the photos and assistance. © Copyright 2009- 2015, Theodora Voutsa

Art can save Lives.