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Rebecca is a music psychotherapist, musician, researcher, and educator of music therapy and the arts therapies. Her research focuses on social anxiety and improvisation-based music therapy with young adults. Rebecca is interested in the clinical, social, and cultural intersections of anxiety, and writes and presents on this from clinical, critical, and cultural perspectives.

She is dedicated to translating clinical and educational knowledge of music as a health mechanism into the greater community through the intersections of cross-discipline, interdisciplinary collaborations, and arts technologies. This is reflected in her teaching and pedagogy of art therapies research. She is the author of the book, Music psychotherapy, and anxiety: Social, community, and clinical contexts, published by Jessica Kingsley. Her music and mental health research lab include faculty and students in expressive therapies who work together on the inquiry of music and arts and the global social issues of the rising impact of anxiety and stress. Projects have included addressing manipulation of truth, “Alternative Facts,” and the Me/2 movement. The lab addresses the impact of using a critically conscious lens in aesthetics as a transformative tool for clinical and performance pedagogy. This includes the use of the concept of collective anxiety and the impact of music-centered technique of tracking moments of interest, mediators, mechanisms of change, and transitions within clinical improvisation and critical social aesthetics frame.

She is the recipient of a number of fellowships, grants, and awards, including the 2017 Institute for Arts and Health Fellowship Award, the 2016 Lesley University Junior Faculty Fellowship Award, and Dean of Faculty research funding and support (2014, 2015, 2017, 2018, 2019). Her collaborative projects have also succeeded to receive private foundation donations for local community music therapy program development and research, and for program innovation for music therapy at Lesley University.

She has held leadership positions internationally and nationally, including the International Expressive Arts Therapies Association, founding committee member of the Expressive Therapies Summit, executive board member for Project Hip-Hop, Boston, AMTA program approval committee, the editorial board of the Journal of Pedagogy, Pluralism, and Practice, clinical research director of Butterfly Music Trans* Chorus and its Women's Rights Chorus. Dr. Zarate served as Chair of Lesley University Faculty Assembly from 2017-2018. She serves on the leadership council for Music Therapy Without Borders and editorial board member for the Journal of Music Therapy and the Journal for Creative Arts in Education and Therapy. Dr. Zarate is an active musician and plays several instruments. She uses her acoustic-based and technology-based artistic practices across all domains of scholarship, teaching, wellness, and community engagement in the service of creative, responsive, and respectful citizenship.

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