Saturday, January 21, 2023

More on using music in therapy

Music is motivating, self-regulating and full of language. Recently I have used songs with individuals and groups in a couple of specific ways.

For an individual client I see, I have been working to incorporate many of his interests as part of a neurodiversity-affirming approach. When he mentioned liking the Beatles, I instantly knew this could be a great path to engagement. We started with "Here Comes the Sun" and using Wikipedia to look up some details about the song brought some great conversation. In addition, the famous album cover of "Abbey Road" brought some Visualizing and Verbalizing-style picture description into the session. Songs with lyrics are available on YouTube and through this we discussed figurative language with this song and "Yesterday."

Simple sketches helped with some back and forth- "Wait, 'Here Comes the Sun' is about the sun coming right at us and crashing into us, right?" "Is 'Yesterday' literally about yesterday?"

For a group activity focusing on different kinds of conversations, I was inspired by this TikTok, in which a teacher polled her students for opinions on the #1 song when she was their age. This made a good executive function activity- what would this look like if we did this? What do you need to know? What objects do we need? See Ward/Jacobsen's Get Ready, Do, Done model. All comments were welcome and I was pleased to learn some new slang when one of the kids reported that Heart's "Alone" (showing the music video in this case provided some extra visual engagement- such big hair!) was "mid," meaning "just OK." 

Do you have other ways you like to incorporate music? Let us know in the comments!

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Revisiting Breathwork with Breathwrk

I can't say enough about the app Breathwrk and what it has done for me, and taught me personally. I've mentioned I struggle here and there with SAD and some other layers. Whether thought- or experience-driven or sometimes just an undercurrent of mismatched energy, using breathing techniques to regulate is very effective for me, and as you can see in this app, backed by science. Try it yourself for free and I'd actually recommend this as exactly the kind of app that is worth paying for a full subscription. 

Additionally, Breathwrk can be very useful clinically. Whether teaching Zones of Regulation® tools or Autism Level Up (see the writeup, instantly usable, as well as many resources at the website), an approach strongly and specifically endorsed by the autistic community, who identify emotional and energy regulation as a priority, breathing techniques as regulation tools can be solidly in our wheelhouse as SLPs. The app has a fun, visual approach to practicing techniques that clients can access elsewhere. I especially appreciate the brain-based science blurbs that accompany each technique. Breathwork can be quick and simple as a tool that may appeal to those who are not so into lengthier mindfulness exercises, and can also complement these.