Sometimes “adulting” is too much

Angry-Woman-200x300 Adults  Longmont Mental Health CounselingIt isn’t easy being an adult in the 21st century. It seems that it takes much more effort and luck to be able to achieve the traditional markers of success. For many, the process for attaining and maintaining these markers can be stressful. Student loans to pay. A family to raise. A mortgage to pay. Maybe even a business to run.

Within this is the never-ending challenge of finding work-life balance. It’s a fine balancing act to do what you know you need to do to make a living vs. what family or friends may need from you. Not to mention finding out where your needs fit in with that.

On a larger scale, today’s adults are faced with complicated situations that require us to “be the adult in the room.” Collectively we face serious problems that require mature and thoughtful resolution. We need to be able to effectively solve problems and compassionately resolve interpersonal differences. However, not many of us were taught how to do this.

Resolving Your Own Childhood Wounds
Many of us experienced some sort of trauma while growing up. Your family of origin may not have been the safe, loving experience commonly associated with the term “family.” Things may have happened to you outside of the home which left you shaken and traumatized. For whatever reason, you weren’t able to tell a trusted adult, but now you are. You are now ready to express, examine, and move through the pain so that you can grow into your stronger, authentic self.

Life Transitions, Aging, and Grief and Loss
Nothing in life goes EXACTLY like how we intend for it. While we can visualize what it is that we want and what it is that we’re wanting to create, we can never be 100% sure of how the end result is going to look. Things change, and this can leave you feeling depressed, anxious, or confused.

Significant relationships may end. You may find yourself faced with a challenging health condition that requires making significant lifestyle changes. You may need to confront your feelings around mortality. You are left feeling unsure of how to move forward.

Relationships take work. Mature relationships especially take work. For a relationship to work, we need to know how to communicate with our loved ones and to the other important people in our lives. Sometimes we say things we don’t mean to say. While at other times we don’t know what to say. Out of touch with our own needs, we aren’t able to communicate them to others. Nor can we fully recognize the needs of others.

This sounds like my situation right now. can I get through it?

Yes, you CAN get through this. That’s not to say, however, that it will be easy. Sometimes it may feel painful, but what you learn about yourself and how you’ll grow as a result is priceless. Below are some things that may work for you.

Get clear on your values, boundaries, needs, and desires
If you’re feeling stuck, burnt out, or somehow unfulfilled in your life, check in with yourself to see if you are in alignment with your values. Has a personal boundary been crossed? Are your needs being met? Are your actions being dictated by subconscious desires?

Learn how to effectively express yourself
Express what needs to be expressed. It does no good to keep your thoughts and feelings to yourself. At the same time, no one benefits from unclear or hurtful communication. How can you express your wants and needs clearly, assertively, and respectfully?

Allow yourself to feel what needs to be felt
There is nothing inherently good or bad about feelings. They are just natural responses to situations and experiences. Sometimes these responses can be based on past experiences. Our emotions have something to communicate to us. Do you hear what yours are saying?

Develop the ability to see multiple possibilities to your life and personal circumstances
Because nothing is guaranteed to turn out how you expect, it is important that you develop the ability to see multiple possibilities to what’s going on. Is the experience offering you an opportunity of some sort? Can you see how another person may see the same situation differently? Can you recognize an opportunity for growth or development?

“what a drag… it is… getting old”

No, it isn’t easy getting older. We change as we get older. We aren’t the person we thought we were anymore. We take on new roles. Life choices we’ve made may not have yielded the results we were expecting.

However, getting older can also bring us gifts, such as wisdom, insight, and understanding. Sometimes we just need an outside perspective, but maybe our family and friends’ perspectives are too limited, biased, or subjective to be helpful to us. Yet, we know that we need to work with someone who can help us discover the possibilities and opportunities for growth.

I’m beginning to see how I may benefit from therapy, but…

How long does therapy take, and how much does it cost?
The length of therapy varies by person. This can be due to a variety of factors. Typically, there is a period of few months where weekly therapy sessions are necessary, but then it can taper off to every two weeks, to once a month, to no longer even being necessary. Sometimes people also benefit from occasional check-ins. It all depends on a person’s circumstances. In general, the more complicated and complex a person’s situation is the more time that may be needed. The music therapy and counseling services offered by SoundWell Music Therapy are an hour-long and cost $90 an hour when provided in Longmont, or $100 when provided outside of Longmont.

How could music make therapy more effective for me?
Music can “amplify” the insights and skills gained from therapy. This is because music affects us in many different ways. We are neurologically and physiologically hard-wired to respond to music. Music can help us relax and reduce feelings of anxiety. Music can also help us relieve feelings of depression. As well, music can connect us to unrecognized thoughts and feelings, while also serving as a means of communication and self-expression. Music can stimulate memories, which can help us create meaning from our lives. Furthermore, music is accessible to us, regardless of age or ability. We can create new ways of being by engaging with music.

How is music therapy different from taking music lessons?
Music therapy is different from music lessons because each has a different goal or focus. In therapy, the focus is on achieving some benefit or relief in an area of being that has been negatively affecting one’s ability to function in life. Music in therapy can be thought of as a tool and a vehicle for personal exploration, growth, and development.

Whereas the focus of music lessons is on the development of musical skills. A person may find music lessons to be therapeutic, but the goal of lessons is to develop musical ability, not therapeutic benefit. SoundWell does provide adapted music lessons to those who may benefit from an adapted approach. See our Studio Policy for more information. Faith also offers community singing groups through Longmont Recreation Services and the Center for Musical Arts in Lafayette.

I’m not musical, can I benefit from music therapy? Musical knowledge or ability isn’t necessary because, in therapy, music is made accessible through making accommodations as are necessary and possible. As well, the work in therapy is oriented on the process, as opposed to creating a final product.

The benefits of our services for adults

Testimonials from healthcare professionals:

“Faith’s work is amazing to watch. She integrates music and counseling to reach the individuals creative center, assisting them to find within themselves inner resources to achieve wellness.” – Jenny Hooks, MSN

“I work with Faith both personally and professionally and find that Faith is a brilliant Music Therapist. The therapeutic work dives deeply and comes through clearly without having to formulate words, which is a relief for so many people. Faith makes it easy to work deeply as she provides a stable and non-judgemental foundation for people to comfortably express themselves.” – Daisy Lear, Licensed Acupuncturist

consolidated Vignettes from my work

Challenge: A woman with a history of sexual abuse was looking for a therapeutic approach that would allow her to experience post-traumatic growth.

Treatment Plan/Results:  She was specifically drawn to my background in voice, but she was reluctant to express herself vocally. Initially, she would express herself through improvising on the piano or percussion instruments. Sometimes she would ask me to play along, and other times she simply needed me to hold space and witness her playing. Eventually, she began to use her voice. We started with toning a single vowel on a single pitch. As she connected with her voice and her breathing, she reconnected with her body, from which she would typically disassociate. By the end of our work together, she was able to identify a healthy, positive outlook for herself and her life.

my work as a counselor helping others embrace change

Change and transition are things that I’ve come to embrace in my own life. Always wanting to be my own drummer, I marched to my own beat from a young age. This wasn’t always easy for me to do, so I honor the courage others show when honoring who they are. I appreciate the challenges that we face and are able to overcome when we strive to become the best of who we are in all of our humanness.

ok, I’m convinced. what do i need to do next?

Contact Faith to schedule a free 15-minute phone consultation if you think that you could benefit from the music therapy and counseling services offered by SoundWell Music Therapy. We’ll be happy to arrange a time when we can talk more about your particular situation and to schedule an initial session.