Adults today face a variety of stressors that make it difficult to want to be the “grown up.” Career and family may be pulling you in different ways as you recognize that both are important to you. You may be feeling stressed about being able to manage all of the pieces involved with modern day living. As you seek to find or create your own “American Dream,” you may be finding the process to be a nightmare.
When Balance is Needed
Within all of this is the seemingly never-ending challenge of finding a balance. For example, there’s a fine balancing act between determining what’s needed to make a living and how to do it. While at the same time, there’s a fine balance in finding the time and energy to meet the needs of others without overextending yourself.
On a larger scale, we are facing complicated situations–serious problems that require mature and thoughtful resolution. Individually and collectively, we need to be able to effectively solve problems and interpersonal differences with compassion and respect. However, not many of us really know how to do this.
If this sounds like you, know that you’re not alone. I can help you. Music therapy can help you tap into the deepest parts of yourself so that you’re able to:
Grow Into Your Authentic Self
Work through and Resolve Childhood Wounds
Many people have experienced some sort of trauma while growing up. Your early family experience may not have been the safe, idyllic, loving embodiment commonly associated with the term “family”. Things may have happened to you during your childhood or adolescence which left you feeling damaged.
For whatever reason, you weren’t able to confide in a trusted adult. Now, you’re ready to express, examine, and move through the pain. You’re ready to grow into your stronger, authentic self.
Navigate Through Life Changes as Gracefully as Possible
Positively manage life changes, growing older, and experiences of grief and loss
Nothing in life unfolds EXACTLY as you intend. While you can visualize what it is that you want and are striving to create, you can never be 100% sure of the end result. Things change. Life’s constant flux and shifting visions can leave you feeling depressed, anxious, or confused.
Significant relationships may end. Challenging health conditions may require significant lifestyle changes. You’re confronted with reminders of your mortality. This may leave you feeling unsure of how to move forward.
Improve Your Relationships
Have meaningful, harmonious relationships
Healthy relationships take work. For a relationship to thrive, you need to know how to effectively communicate. Sometimes in the need to blow off steam, you may say things to someone that you don’t actually mean. Other times you may find yourself at a loss for words.
Until you can connect with your own needs, you’ll be unable to communicate them to others. At the same time, you won’t be able to fully recognize the needs of others without knowing your own.
This Sounds Like Me.
You CAN get through this. It may not be easy, but what you can learn about yourself and how you’ll grow as a result of your journey is priceless. Music therapy with me can help you:
Find Out What’s Important to You
Gain clarity on your values, boundaries, needs, and desires
If you’re feeling like you’re getting nowhere in life, check in with yourself to see if you are in alignment with your values. What are your values? Are you allowing others to overstep your boundaries? Do you know what your boundaries are? What are you creating in your life? Is your subconscious running the show?
Music provides a creative and expressive way for the exploration of these thoughts and feelings.
Improve Your Communication
Learn how to effectively express yourself
Bottling up your thoughts and feelings can make your life more difficult in the long run. You may find yourself in situations you don’t want to be in. This can lead to feelings of resentment, which can negatively impact your relationships.
Music therapy can help you express what needs to be expressed. At the same time, helping you do so in a clear and respectful way. Some ways this can be done are through improvisation, which can include role-playing, or song-writing.
Reconnect with Your Feelings
Allow yourself to feel what needs to be felt
There is nothing inherently good or bad about feelings. Feelings are simply natural responses to situations and experiences. Sometimes these responses have a basis on past experiences.
Your emotions have something deeply personal to tell you. Music therapy can help you hear them so that you can receive the message. This can be done through activities involving improvisation, song-writing, or lyric analysis.
Gain New Perspectives
Develop the ability to see multiple possibilities to your life and personal circumstances
There are no guarantees in life. Because of this, it’s important to develop the ability to see multiple possibilities in different challenging circumstances or situations.
Maybe the experience is offering you an opportunity of some sort. Can you see what it is? Perhaps there are different perspectives at play. Is yours the only one that’s “right?”
Music therapy provides a safe and creative space for exploring these thoughts and ideas. This is because engaging with music can foster new awarenesses and insights. While at the same time, music can allow for the exploration of different perspectives.
Tell Me More About Your Services
Here are some questions people frequently ask about the mental health and therapeutic music services I offer:
Logistics About Therapy
How long does therapy take, and how much does it cost?
The length of therapy varies by person, dependent upon a variety of factors. Typically, there is a period of a few months wherein weekly therapy sessions are necessary because rapport needs to be established. However, following this foundational time, sessions can taper off to every two weeks to once a month.
Eventually, sessions will no longer be necessary. Although sometimes people find benefit from occasional check-ins. While at other times, they find reward in transitioning to music lessons.
While personal circumstances vary, generally the more complicated and complex a person’s situation is, the more time may be needed. The music therapy and counseling services offered by SoundWell Music Therapy are one hour-long and cost $90 an hour when provided in Longmont, or $100 when provided outside of Longmont. I’m also in- network as a counselor with Aetna, Anthem (HMO and PPO), Cigna, United Healthcare ComPsych, and Profile EAP.
How could music make therapy more effective for me?
Music can “amplify” the skills and insights gained from therapy. This is because music impacts us in many different, multifaceted ways. We are neurologically and physiologically hard-wired to respond to music. Moreover, music can connect us to unrecognized thoughts and feelings while also serving as a means of communication and self-expression. We can create and investigate new ways of being by engaging with music.
I'm not musical, can I benefit from music therapy?
Musical knowledge or ability isn’t necessary because accommodations or adaptations are made as necessary and as possible. As well, the work in therapy has its focus on the process, rather than a final product.
How is music therapy different from taking music lessons?
Music therapy and music lessons have very different goals and focus. In therapy, the key focus is on achieving specific therapeutic goals unrelated to music. Music within this therapeutic context can be thought of as a tool, a vehicle for personal exploration, growth, and development.
On the other hand, the focus of music lessons is musical development. Although that isn’t to say that a person may not find lessons to be therapeutic. SoundWell provides adapted music lessons to those who may benefit from an adapted approach. See our Studio Policy for more information.
How Others Have Benefited: Snapshots From My Work
Below are some vignettes highlighting my therapeutic work with adults. These descriptions are to help you see the ways in which I have been able to use music and the therapeutic relationship to help people struggling with significant mental health issues and challenges.
Trauma and Post-Traumatic Growth
Client with a history of sexual abuse
Initially, they would express themselves through improvising on the piano or percussion instruments. Sometimes they would ask me to play along, and other times they simply needed me to hold space and witness them playing. Eventually, they began to use their voice. In connecting with their voice and their breath, they reconnected with their body. By the end of our work together, they were able to identify a healthy, positive outlook for themselves and their life.
Managing Feelings of Anxiety and Grief
Client with a history of anxiety who recently experienced the ending of a relationship
The client was able to express their grief and manage feelings of anxiety through breathing activities and vocalizing/singing. These activities were helpful in their ability to reconnect with their body in the present moment.
The selection of meaningful songs was also helpful for the client to be able to process the relationship. Improvisations and songs on the themes of empowerment and growth were useful in helping them to envision and create their new life.
Enhancing Sense of Self Worth and Finding Meaning in Life
A client struggling with feelings of low self-worth after a divorce and questioning their life meaning
As a result of their divorce, the client was questioning the meaning of their relationship. They were seeking help in reclaiming who they were as a person worthy of love. Listening was a large component of our work together. They had things to say and it was important that they were heard.
Music was also something that they wanted to reintegrate it their life again. Life review through music and the creation of empowerment playlists were a few of the ways music was incorporated. As well they began to actively play music again. This was helpful in providing them with a renewed sense of purpose. Through the course of our work together they became more self-assured and confident.
My Work in Helping Others Embrace Change
I’ve come to embrace change and transitions in my own life, although that’s not to say that it isn’t daunting at times. Always wanting to be my own drummer, I’ve been marching to my own beat from a young age. This also wasn’t always easy. It takes courage for a person to truly live as their authentic self. Living it for myself, I honor what this process entails for others.
Ok, I’m Convinced. What Do I Need to Do Next?
If you have further questions about music therapy or the services that SoundWell Music Therapy offers, you can contact me by email. Otherwise, I offer a free 30-minute consultation by phone or at my office that you can schedule here. During this consultation, we’ll talk more specifically about your situation and how I might be able to help you.