Wow. 6 months. She’s changed and grown so much since May. For those of you just tuning in, I refer to my bizness as my baby. She’s been thought about and dreamt about and is finally here! She has a calm spirit to her. Anyone who has been to visit knows what I’m talking about. It’s like she emits a sense of peace along with a bright light of hope. If anyone leaves the office feeling those kinds of feelings, we did our job!
So. Let’s talk music therapy. Have I played music with the kids, teens and adults that I’ve worked with in the past? YES, but not in such a tactile way. Touching the keys of a piano is a concrete thing. Kids are more concrete than abstract thinkers so that’s a good thing!
Playing music is one of THE most mindful activities that I engaged in as a kid and I’m so thankful to be able to share that gift with other kiddos. I feel that I can finally say out loud that my childhood was horrific. Playing music was a way for me to escape from the chaos and clear my head and heart. I honestly think music saved my life… It was my coping strategy for having to live in survival mode 24/7/365.
My best music was played when the house was empty and I was alone with the piano keys. Emotion could pour out of me through my music. It was a very “in the moment” experience and now I know what to call that. It was me practicing mindfulness, which I also refer to as yoga. Yes, eye roll, she said it again. YOGA!
It may sound like it’s off subject but YOGA! Yoga basically means “to yoke” or “union.”
NOTE: The tag line for #creativetherapies is “Integrated Care for Mind and Body.”
When I make decisions about my life, it’s always nice if I have both my head and my heart on the same page. It’s the intuitive piece of being a human when you really tune into yourSELF and find connections between your thoughts and feelings.
Yoking! Feeling in Union! Want some of that? I do!
The mindfulness piece that I add to my work with clients is teaching them to look nonjudgmentally at their thoughts and emotions. Noticing when their thoughts and feelings are in conflict, or if they are in unison. Mindfulness teaches that there are not any “bad” thoughts or emotions.
Wait, no bad thoughts or emotions? What? Yes, precisely. That is what mindfulness teaches. You are the observer of a neutral scene that YOU are experiencing while on earth.
Heavy but very simple. Instead of thoughts and feelings being “good” or “bad,” there IS another option!!! What about looking at our own thoughts and feelings as neutral??? Thoughts are just thoughts. Emotions are just emotions. Keys on a piano are just keys. No need to be judgy.
Ok, so thoughts and feelings are neutral. What about behaviors? Eek. I don’t think we have the time for that one because I have A LOT to say about behaviors. Specifically those behaviors that kids learn from adults. *HUGE SIGH*
To sum up my caveat on the existence of “bad” behaviors, I share the exact sentiments that comedian, Paul Gilmartin, has. He basically says that there are NO bad thoughts or feelings, only bad ways of expressing them. LOVE!!!
What do I teach parents about children’s “negative” behaviors?
IT’S JUST A FORM OF COMMUNICATION!
What do I want to instill in clients about their own “negative” behaviors?
YOU ARE A HUMAN.
SOMETIMES HUMANS MAKE POOR CHOICES!
BIG DEAL. MOVE ON.
It’s a lesson in SELF-compassion!
Ever hear a kid say something really negative about themselves? It’s hard and even painful to hear. If we are looking at everything in a nonjudgmental, observational standpoint, it should result in us being kinder to ourSELVES and others!
Obviously not going to happen over night. This is a skill that requires practice. Given the opportunity, I can teach someone how to be mindful in most any activity.
When I nonjudgmentally observe my experience as a human, I cultivate grace towards SELF. When reflecting upon my human experience, I can step back and think, “In my human experience, I am thinking thoughts about ______ which make me feel _______.” Another example: “I did ______ behavior because I was feeling _______.”
It’s kind of like stating the obvious without beating yourSELF up in the process. It’s just noticing thought, emotional and behavioral patterns as you experience the world. It’s SELF-AWARENESS and SELF-ACCEPTANCE all wrapped up into one.
Easy peasy, right?
WRONG! We live in a world that is full of messages that say this is good and this is bad. See that gray in all things!
Don’t be so black and white! It’s rigid and that typically doesn’t lend itself to living an organic and fluid life.
Become the observer. You are present but you are not being jerked around by your thoughts and feelings all of the time. You’re just experiencing life and taking a moment to take everything in and respond rather than constantly react to everything going on around you. ANYONE out there want to teach their kids that?
Seriously people. I could use a healthy dose of above! Coming from someone who has practiced a truckload of mindfulness, even though I try to practice SELF-awareness, I still can get caught up in the moment and react (AKA Flip out!). I did that recently and it doesn’t feel good. What ends up happening in most cases where I react, I usually end up beating mySELF up for my behavior instead of really looking at the reason I was so triggered.
Muscle memory lends itself to folks being able to play music effortlessly and not really be “present” with what they are doing.
With children who are learning to play an instrument for the first time, they have to be engaged. Their smaller but powerful brains are forming new neural pathways. They are truly IN THE MOMENT. Focused!!! That’s right! Your kid, FOCUSED!
The same applies to my yoga practice. I can be truly present on each and every breath, OR I can be thinking about what I need to pick up from the store while on my mat. I call that being physically but not emotionally present. Checked out.
Mindfulness for kids, especially those with difficulties in sustaining attention, is SO key to training their little brains to tune everything else out. Mindfulness is basically focus training! When playing music or learning to play an instrument, we will be focusing on a hand position, a sound, a touch, a color, anything… All doing so with a non judgemental approach.
I won’t let them beat themselves up over learning because that is all we are doing; learning! BONUS POINTS – the kids learning music at #creativetherapies will get to learn with a therapist who knows how to turn almost any situation into something clinical.
It’s kind of my superpower.
No one who walks in my office needs a diagnosis to see me or anyone else to enjoy any of the services provided at #creativetherapies. I’m not a fan of labeling and no one needs a pathology, dis-ease or dis-order to work on their SELF!
Hopefully everyone is starting to get the #nopathologies needed approach to my work! I certainly hope so!!! Increasing focus, learning to observe yourSELF and the world nonjudgmentally, learning to be present, increasing SELF-awareness, SELF-acceptance, SELF-compassion, SELF-esteem, SELF-confidence, I could go on….
I’m spending the month of November working on how to get the
#musictherapy programming set up. My services will be offered to my current kiddos FIRST. I’ll let everyone know the deal once I have it all worked out.
Fun and exciting things are on the horizon! Looking forward to what baby girl brings in #2020! Hope you will be there to join in on the fun!
Thanks to EVERYONE who supports #creativetherapies in big or small ways! The crew and I have certainly felt the love and appreciate it more than any of us can express in words. We love what we do and we are thrilled you have entrusted us with your time!
We offer a free 20 minute in person or phone consultation.
Please give us a call at 919.880.4078 to set yours up today!
Casey Baine, MA, LCAS, LPCA, NCC, RYT
Clinical Director, Mental Health & Substance Use Disorder Therapist
email@example.com // 919-880-4078
6330 Falls of Neuse Road Suite #104 Raleigh, NC 27615