One of the first things clients and their loved ones ask when they research our organization, is how we specifically use music to help the healing and recovery processes. To provide some more insight, we have provided a list of our therapeutic techniques that fully integrate musical engagement. It’s important to realize that a musical background is not needed to heal at Recovery Unplugged, and that these techniques are meant to engage existing evidence-based models to help clients become more receptive to the treatment process.
Some of the ways in which Recovery Unplugged integrates music into rehab include:
- Songwriting and compositions -In “music healing” group, clients write their own recovery songs, and record them. This serves as a reminder of hope to motivate them throughout their recovery.
- Performance and Production -Clients have the opportunity to perform their recovery songs to their peers in “open mic”, a group that encourages clients to get vulnerable and use different mediums to express themselves and promote everlasting change.
- Therapeutic Drumming -Drum circle groups are held where clients are encouraged to play in rhythm, promoting unity and synchronicity. Clients are also expected to do a drum solo in front of their peers, allowing for creative expression and vulnerability.
- Live Performances -“Tune-up Tuesday” and “Feel Good Friday” are groups held where clients are invited to listen to live performances from professional musicians in recovery. Their music usually promotes themes of hope, strength and hardships, all of which the clients are able to relate to.
- Listening and Analysis -Clients are given an MP3 player upon arrival. These are preloaded, and can be customized with the individual’s favorite artists and genres. Clients are able to listen freely, as it is often a source of comfort- providing a sense of familiarity in times of distress. Clients are encouraged to choose songs that evoke emotion- happiness, sadness, loneliness, etc. all of which allow the client to become vulnerable to their peers and clinicians.
From Clinical Director, Klifton Fehr:
“When I am working with families, I ask them to tell me a song that they would sing to their loved ones or play for them that would assist in grabbing the client’s (their loved one’s) attention, especially when the client is struggling in IOP/OP or homesickness or depression or high cravings. It would be a song that we could play that would let the client know that there have been times in the past where they were uncertain but they got through it. It would be a song that would remind them that they are loved and valued and appreciated and most of all supported and people believe in them.
When clients are in group and they are really struggling to make connections with other group members, we have a couple of the group members play a song to the client to assist the client in coming out of their shell, without the group members having to stumble through finding things to talk about with the client in session. This helps the group members understand that they are not alone and often times are understood by other people in the group without them even saying a word, initially.”
Overall, music proves as an effective catalyst for change in a variety of ways. It allows the struggling individual to become vulnerable. It promotes unity within his community, and can be used as a source for grounding. Music is also a medium that has almost ethereal qualities… It is often said that honesty, open mindedness and willingness are the spiritual principles that need to be practiced on a daily basis in order to keep one’s recovery. We are able to practice honesty through composition, open mindedness in listening to the songs of our peers, and willingness by accepting and acknowledging the feelings that are provoked by our own song. Music in itself is a synergist to the inherent components of spirituality, effectively promoting a sincere recovery.