I have known Brenda for a long time. I knew her first as a counselling student, then as a practicum supervisee. She later became a respected colleague, and now she is a good friend. Over all these years and in these different ways, I have come to know her well. When someone calls me looking for a therapist, I send them to Brenda because I know they will be in safe and capable hands. With her beautiful energy, Brenda connects easily with people. She uses a person-centred, research-based approach to comforting and inspiring clients to find their ways to wellness.
Brenda is also a talented entrepreneur. In addition to working as a music therapist, she offers therapy programs for various groups, and music concerts for the local community. She does all of this well, on her beautiful property on the ocean. She is fulfilling her dream of creating a safe space for others to heal, learn and grow.
Shaughney Aston, PhD, Acadia University School of Education, Adjunct Professor
Throughout the past ten years, while working as a school administrator, educator and counsellor, I have greatly appreciated the support my clients received from Brenda Johnson, both as a Music Therapist and Counsellor. I observed first-hand how Brenda was able to provide an invaluable service to many students with individualized needs and how her Music Therapy sessions changed perspectives and provided hope. When supporting individuals and groups through counselling, Brenda demonstrates a special ability to make personal connections, empathize, explore strategies, and work collaboratively. Her thoughtful, caring and genuine support of all clients makes her a truly exceptional Music Therapist/Counsellor.
I have known and worked with Brenda Johnson for many years. Because of her experience in music therapy, I asked her to develop and facilitate group sessions for children with autism and other developmental disorders in our school system in the Annapolis Valley. Brenda created excellent programs tailored expressly to the needs of each diverse group of students. She interacted professionally with all staff and demonstrated outstanding abilities with creating positive interactions with all students. The programs that Brenda developed were very successful and students achieved many important goals throughout the sessions. Brenda is a creative, resourceful, dependable and highly competent music therapist and counselor. It was a pleasure to work with her professionally.
Kym Hume, M.Ed, B.A. B.Ed., Autism Consultant
In my role as executive director at a busy women’s shelter, I had the pleasure of working with Brenda Johnson. From crafting grant applications to working directly with women and their children who had experienced violence and abuse, Brenda exceeded all expectations. Her professional, compassionate and trauma sensitive approach helped participants gain confidence and recognize their own resilience. Thank you Brenda for fostering hope in difficult situations.
Rhonda Fraser, MA, BAH (Former Executive Director, Chrysalis House Association) , Outreach Worker Juniper House Outreach (Digby)
It has been such a pleasure to work with Brenda for almost 15 years, and to witness the spirit of generosity and genuine compassion that she brings to her work as a counselor and music therapist. Her careful attention to quality programs is a testament to her commitment to integrity in her practice. Similarly, her ongoing mentoring of students and new clinicians allows her passion for supporting others as they begin to chart career pathways to shine. Brenda has created such a hopeful vision for service-provision and community enhancement in rural Nova Scotia through her work to bring incredible music and music-making opportunities to people where ever they happen to be. Being able to hear and engage with some of Atlantic Canada’s most talented musicians in a beautifully inviting space is a gift – one that adds so nicely to the creative suite of offerings that Brenda brings to the Valley.
Cynthia Bruce, PhD, MTA , Acadia University School of Education, President, Acadia University Faculty Association (AUFA)
I highly recommend Brenda’s work in a supportive role as well as in an educative role. I met Brenda 10 years ago while as faculty at the Nova Scotia Community College. I taught in the School of Health and Human Services and was the anchor faculty for the Disability Supports and Services program. While giving my students a tour of the KRRC I observed Brenda engaged with clients providing them a music therapy experience. It was interesting to observe because I hadn’t seen the engagement of some of the participants before.
In my role as faculty, I would visit students on field placements. One student who is currently working as an Educational assistant was volunteering in an after school program that supported children with autism. I witnessed Brenda leading a music therapy session with elementary school aged children. I was so impressed how she led the session and had the children engaged and actively participating. From those two experiences I started inviting Brenda to the college as a guest speaker to both the 1st and 2nd year students who were in the Disability Supports and Services program because of her wealth of knowledge in her field as well as being an excellent educator. The students learned so much from her time in their classroom. In 2018 I was fortunate enough to bring my students to her wellness centre where she demonstrated through multiple experiential exercises how music therapy can be used with a variety of situations and age groups. Brenda is a gifted, exceptional educator and her positive nature along with excellent communication skills provides the professionalism you are looking for.
Anne Murray, MSW, Faculty, Disability Supports and Services Program, Nova Scotia Community College, Kingstec Campus (Retired)
I have known Brenda for much of my professional career. Her passion and dedication to the field of music therapy was evident prior to her becoming a music therapist herself. She has spent her life dedicated to maximizing engagement with others – her colleagues and her clients – and she has done this best through her music and music therapy sessions.
Jennifer Buchanan, MBA, MTA, Keynote Speaker, Music Therapist, Author, President and Founder of JP Music Therapy
Valley Child Development Association and the families in our programs have been fortunate in having had several opportunities to partner with Brenda Johnson over the past several years. Our partnership continued after Brenda’s internship was completed in 2009.
Brenda partnered with us as a Music Therapist during several of our summer respite programs, Autism Play Groups and Behavioural Intervention Workshops. These programs provided needed respite to families while enhancing a stimulating environment for children with developmental and behavioral concerns. The music therapy sessions also contributed to each child’s individual needs and summer fun. Together we developed and planned parent/child interactions that explored educational, social and physical aspects of development. A variety of musical instruments, songs, games and activities were used in bringing music and movement into a broader treatment plan to address differences due to autism, developmental and behavioural factors. We continue to be able to share resources as needed.
Our partnership over the years certainly contributed to the children and parents positive health and wellness and were valuable experiences for all involved.
Barbara Crouse, Bachelor of Child Studies, BCS, Executive Director, VCDA Regional Director, NSECDIS
Brenda Johnson creatively engages with groups. She creates musical introductions, so participants are can meet new parts of themselves. I have been privileged to participate and observe her interact with my students at the Community College. She is a skilled musician and therapist. Through music she invites the listener to access their individual strengths to building resilience. I have also been privileged to attend multiple musical concerts in her space. Brenda’s ingenuity and resourcefulness is amazing.
Dale Gruchy, M.Ed. (Counselling), Continuing Faculty, Addiction Community Outreach NSCC, International Certified Appreciative Inquiry Facilitator
I have been lucky to have been under Brenda’s supervision more than once; during my music therapy practica while at Acadia, then later as her first music therapy intern at the Kings Regional Rehabilitation Centre in Waterville, NS. Brenda is a knowledgeable and practiced supervisor and music therapist – she balances support for her students through careful observation and recommendations, while allowing the space for learning and growth. As a therapist, Brenda’s number one priority is the client and how to further their self-development and well-being. She is attentive, compassionate, and light-hearted, and an asset to any facility or healthcare team she is a part of!
Sarah McInnis, BMT, Music Therapist, Sound Connections Therapy Services
During my practicum placements at Acadia University, I was fortunate to work under Brenda’s supervision twice. Even though my second time ended abruptly because of COVID-19, I have learned a lot from Brenda and have taken up some of her skills as my own. Brenda’s focus is to be client-directed and client-focused within her sessions. She works on the strengths of her clients while also encouraging and challenging them to strive for their goals and to be their best selves. You can see she builds strong connections with her clients and sessions are well-planned and done with a purpose. Brenda brings energy into her sessions and her personality is contagious and always positive. As a supervisor, she brings a lot of knowledge and experience and is able to help in any way she can while also letting her students learn through their own experiences. Brenda is always open for questions and gives helpful advice beneficial to learn and implement during your music therapy journey. She is open-minded, compassionate, hardworking, and an amazing music therapist.