Over the last nine months since I have been an intern at Olive Branch Counseling Associates in Tinley Park, I have had the opportunity to provide counseling services in various settings. Among them are Roseland on the south side of Chicago, and West Garfield Park on the west side. Clients in both of these communities have been primarily African American, and as someone who identifies as being African Caribbean American, I often share some similar cultural dimensions with those clients.
Among those exchanges are discussions about rhythms, folklore, music, and African based spirituality and beliefs. For instance, when words seem very difficult to explain depression, anxiety, trauma, and other sensitive issues, I have introduced music into the therapeutic settings to help clients transport their thoughts and feelings.
There are various ways that music has been helpful. However, one aspect of this reality that clients have continued to ask to be repeated is when we play original music. That is, although clients may claim they have no musical talents, they find creativity and expression in either performing, or watching live music in action. Then they want to do it again.
I have used the live playing of musical instruments to introduce thought stopping exercises intended to help clients disrupt negative feedback loops they were experiencing at the time. In many group sessions, this has involved the clients’ participation with beating the drums, or playing another instrument. In other blogs I have demonstrated the use of playing of the accordion or steel pan. In this visit, I share a common rhythm rendition that I play with use of the Djembe Drum.
At the beginning of the attached video, I discuss how the musical session is related to mindfulness. If you are interested in learning about how mindfulness can be useful to help you with various aspects of life, I encourage you to make an appointment with a therapist. Enjoy. Here is the link to the video: https://youtu.be/FWNiN5rWJVg
Written By: Peter K.B. St. Jean
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