We all have a lightness and darkness to us. None of us is 100% “good” or “bad.” Reconciling your shadow self with your conscious self is how you find your authentic self.
As we come upon the winter solstice, I’ve been reflecting on our light and dark sides. We all need both in order to find balance within ourselves. Once we find that balance we can be our true, authentic selves.
Music therapy works with what psychoanalyst Carl Jung called the shadow self. It also works with your lighter side, or ideal self. We can use music therapy to find your real, most authentic self. When it comes to music therapy and your authentic self, there are a few ways that you can use music to explore the different aspects of yourself.
Balancing Your Light and Dark Sides to Find Your Authentic Self
None of us are all good or all bad. But maybe you only focus on the “bad” parts of yourself. These are usually aspects of yourself that you don’t like. So you turn away from them and ignore them. Or simply run away.
According to Jung, ignoring the shadow side of yourself can create problems in your relationships. Jung believed that the shadow self contains lightness as well as darkness. It is what makes up your identity and lives in your unconscious. 
You can’t get rid of the parts of yourself you don’t like by running away from them. You may find yourself in unfavorable situations and you may not bring light and awareness to them. If you don’t acknowledge these parts of yourself, you can’t integrate them within yourself. You need to acknowledge the darkness to understand what it means and how you can be your most authentic self.
It’s black and white thinking that gets us into trouble. Humans are complex creatures. We have good traits and we have things we can always work on. Likewise, we have shadow selves that, left unchecked, can take over and affect our daily lives.
Becoming Your Authentic Self Requires Reconciling the Light and the Dark
In order to become your true authentic self, you need to reconcile the light and dark parts of yourself. This means putting in some work with a trained therapist, like me, who can guide you through an exploration of these different parts of yourself. Therapists help create a safe space for you to engage in this exploration, which can sometimes feel like a painful confrontation of yourself.
Your identity is tied to these different parts of yourself. You need to embrace all of yourself in order to find your true identity and live your most authentic life.
At SoundWell Music Therapy PLLC,I use music therapy to help you explore your authentic self.. With music therapy, I can help you find your truest identity.
Music Therapy and The Authentic Self
When exploring those parts of yourself that you don’t like, it’s important that you feel safe. Music therapy is a safe space to explore your shadow self. It can help you express the parts of yourself that you may not be able to verbalize. Music allows you to put sounds to things you don’t have words for.
Sometimes you aren’t ready to verbalize what’s going on. Guilt, shame, and past trauma are a few of the reasons why you might not be ready to put words to your experience. I use music therapy interventions to guide you through your shadow self, the light of yourself and help you find your truest potential.
Music brings up aspects of yourself that may lie in your unconscious. Sometimes you hear a song and immediately feel connected to it but don’t know why. Or you play an instrument or make a sound that fully expresses a part of yourself you weren’t aware existed. This is the exciting part about music therapy and your true self. Music uncovers things you didn’t know were there!
In music therapy, there are a number of interventions I use to uncover these aspects of yourself. One way is to listen to lyrics that remind you of different elements of yourself or a life situation you are going through. Song lyrics can be very powerful. They’re a great way to connect to what’s going on under the surface. Sometimes lyrics express emotions or thoughts that you didn’t know you had until you heard them in a song.
Another way to use music therapy to uncover your authentic self and address your shadow self is through free improvisation. This can be vocalizing or playing instruments. When you allow yourself to let go and play or vocalize from your inner impulses, you discover elements of yourself that were always there but weren’t in your conscious minds.
Vocalizing and making sounds is a way to feel emotions that you otherwise push away. It’s common to place judgments on emotions: it’s not safe to feel this way, I’m not ok, etc. Sounds bypass those thoughts and get to the essence of the feeling. Then, together, we can examine what’s coming up for you.
One other intervention I use in music therapy to find our authentic selves is songwriting. You can write about whatever your experience is, whatever you’ve been through, and where you want to go. There is no right or wrong way to write a song. Songwriting can be as simple as changing the words to a familiar song to fit your experience. You can also create something new based on a melody, rhythm, or chord progression you create. Songwriting is a great way to get thoughts and feelings out of your body and onto the page where you can see and sing them in a concrete way. It helps make the feelings and experiences real.
In music therapy, we don’t just listen to and play music. We talk about what the music brings up for you. This is an important part of music therapy and working with your identity and authentic self. We all can listen to and make music on our own. In a music therapy session, we talk through what comes up for you when you do these things. How does it make you feel? What are you noticing about yourself? Are there certain thoughts that are coming up for you? What insights or connections are you making?
Music Therapy and Your Authentic Self at SoundWell Music Therapy PLLC
At SoundWell Music Therapy PLLC, I work directly with you to explore your shadow self. We use music to find the light and the dark parts of yourself. Together, we explore what’s coming up for you during this process. We work as a team to process your experience using music therapy to help you achieve your highest potential.
If you’re ready to explore your shadow self, find your authentic self, and use music therapy to sharpen your identity, be sure to contact me. I offer a free 15-minute phone consultation during which we can talk more about what your needs are. You can schedule here.