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"It is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self" - D.W. Winnicott
My belief is that using creative arts therapeutically allows people to express themselves emotionally when they are stuck or simply cannot find the words. Adolescence is a developmental stage that is accompanied by tremendous physical and emotional growth. During this time, teens often experience significant social and emotional challenges. Navigating this alone can lead to increased risk of depression, anxiety and low self-esteem. Acoustic Youth was developed to use music for healing. By creating a safe place where adolescents can work together, the program helps teens develop coping strategies to master life challenges. It is modeled after the trauma-based Sonic Teens program I developed at the Child and Family Guidance Center in 2015, but with a broader focus. Acoustic Youth is appropriate for all teens who want to channel their passion for music into therapeutic growth. The group incorporates musical experiences, song-writing/recording, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and mentoring by musicians. This innovative program promotes social connectedness, enhanced coping skills, improved self-esteem and increased emotional expression.
Group Therapy: Acoustic Youth is a 14-week program designed to engage teens musically. No musical talent is necessary! Only a love of music and a willingness to work on a therapeutic goal is required. Group therapy can benefit teens by increasing their social support network, which can protect them from stress and isolation.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidenced-based treatment modality that has been determined by the National Institute of Mental Health to be effective in the treatment of individuals with mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Psycho-education in CBT and mindfulness are essential components of this group and each child will be given opportunities to practice progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, visual imagery and grounding.
Musical Experiences/Mentors: Music is helpful in decreasing stress, increasing relaxation, managing pain and facilitating emotional expression. A variety of musical experiences are offered each week to help teens express their emotions. Throughout the group each member is encouraged to write and record a song about something they would like to gain mastery over. For example, teens may choose to address bullying, bereavement, painful relationships, family difficulties or abuse through their songs. At selected sessions, musical mentors speak to the group to promote the power of musical expression. Each member will also get assistance from a musical mentor in writing and recording their own song.