As we begin 2016, we often take a moment reflect on the past and think about the future. (Tis the season for resolutions.) But instead of planning for the future or replaying our past, what would happen if we spent 2016 being present. So much of our mental energy is spent worrying about what will come or rehearsing what has already been. Let's all take a moment to "hit the pause button" in life. To breathe. To be. To listen within. Let's enjoy 2016 for what it is and resolve to stop resolving.
Recently, I have made some big leaps with my family and professional career. From one type of music therapy work where I had much experience and expertise then suddenly (actually the next day) into a new music therapy work environment. As I turned to face this in the typically human manner with excitement and nervousness; I wondered will I be a good fit? I realized that this is just that type of big life change that impacts so many of us or stuns us for a moment. As a music therapist, expressive arts therapist, and counselor with Music Journey, LLC I meet many people who come seeking help in similar moments in their lives. As this recognition hit me, I decided to write a bit on just those human experiences Transition and Change, and Impermanence.
Transition, for me this transition has a deep personal and family component. Simply by moving from one job to another impacted my experience of both stress and success. These simple work changes really shook me. As I moved from a work place where my feelings of competence and expertise were a normal inner experience for me. I also found myself with new questions of what to do, when to act, who should I ask, and how to I simply improve my work in this setting? I found so many questions and so much to learn. Yet, I feel that these questions guide me to how to respond with awareness to these new parts of my work. As I slowly, answered these questions of what do I do in any particular situation. First, I recall I need to take a breath and return to my awareness, this is very important for such intimate and sensitive work as making music by someone's bedside in a hospital. Next, after breathing a few breaths and deeply listening to the person I feel able to be present and then act out of a larger sense of compassion. Then if a moment comes up that all seems a bit too much, I turn to one the helpful colleagues that have welcomed me aboard and ask for help. Lastly, the notion of striving and working to improve the quality of my work is always present. So much that I have enlisted the assistance of a highly skilled consultant to help me to review and reflect on my work in this new setting of a general medical hospital. This has been hugely helpful for me over the past months of this new work.
Now to consider change, my example comes from my life and work. However, I have met many people who come to me for assistance whom speak of the fears and inabilities to approach make changes they want for themselves or changes that continue to elude the person. For me change can be tough sometimes even when things are full of ease. Sometimes, things just don't go easily. I find that abrupt changes really toss me and I have to reach out to my loved ones and reach inwardly in meditation for real stabilization.
As one of the therapist with Music Journey, LLC , I have witnessed and been present in moments of change for people in many different ways. From realizations that there are ways to manage anxiety that really help ease the suffering to recognizing a pattern in life that has been unhelpful for too long. In my work and life, I aim to make myself available to be present and aware in the moment striving to deeply listen so as to understand the person who has entrusted me with a tiny part of their life.
Finally, the much larger notion of Impermanence is so real for me lately. First the larger human fact that I will die and more simply things seem to always shift and change. Recently, I catch a melody or song floating by in my head. A few times I’ve heard the floating melody from a song the words stating, " do you realize that everyone you know someday die". As I listen to this phrase and reflect on my recent work with people with serious health conditions I recall moments of making music (musicing) with a person who is on the cusp of some major life change, surgery, or death. I feel an emotional tug toward these tender moments sometimes quiet and sometimes boisterous. These moments change me, causing deep listening where I notice the need to slow down and listen deeply as I feel this experience personally and do my work professionally. I attempt each day to make these experiences in music, these sacred moments, special. I attempt to prize my moments with people and appreciate the wonderful present moment.
Real opportunities to experience the impermanence that is this life and to be present in a person/ families life makes this work so sweet. These Moments seem simple and yet enormous fitting as the theme of painting, a poem, a song , or a dance.
Writing this to and from work, I am suddenly slowed down and brought into a mindful moment with breath and words. I hope that something from this writing lends readers a bit of help today or at least a moment of beauty in your own life.
This week I had the wonderful opportunity to meet some of the people whom are affiliated with, Our Club house http://ourclubhouse.org
The facility is really warm and inviting and I was given gracious assistance from Clubhouse staff Kirsten and Mike.
During this rejuvenating evening, I shared the story of The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). I told stories and answered questions about GIM and the ways that I have practiced GIM to help people with chronic illness, mood problems, relationship problems, and spiritual development. We shared a wonderful meal and then several opportunities for deep music listening as a group.
Each participant listened to the music after a brief guided relaxation process. After each listening experience we shared some wonderful stories as people spoke of the imagery stories that had arrived during the music listening. The people gathered shared the music process with interest and ease throughout the evening.
It is now several days later, and I come away from that evening with a sense of honor, lightness, and memories. Specifically, I felt it a great opportunity to share ideas from GIM with such beautiful people, I enjoyed the heartfelt laughter, and I now have some warm memories of those moments in a musicing community.
I do encourage anyone who has been touched by the challenges of Cancer(s), to make a visit to Our Club House. You too, will likely find the beautiful and kind people gathered there can provide a bit of needed support for you.
Hello again, I mentioned several weeks ago we would be launching into a few posts related to the services and offerings we provide at Music Journey, LLC. The aim is to provide some simple and honest information and explain what we believe and how we collaborate with people. So, here is the second in our series, this one focusing on our Expressive Arts Therapy services.
First off let me make this a bit simple before I go into the more colorful descriptions. Simply put expressive arts therapy is the artistic layering of multiple arts with the intention of being of help or service to a person or person(s). For instance one might move from singing, talking, or listening to a song, then add a movement or draw a picture inspired by that song as a way of expanding and focusing toward the image, ideas, and the deeper meanings for the person(s) involved. In many ways this is deep personal awareness practice with an artistic lens.
Next, I want to discuss a few values that I bring to my work as an expressive arts-therapist/helper. Specifically, the values I hold important in my expressive arts therapy practice. These include co-creating a studio experience, encouraging mindful play, and focusing on beauty.
Play in the studio brings growth
As I work with people in expressive arts therapy I imagine that we are co-creating a studio, this is an intention that I bring from my many years of collaboration with my close friend Jena Leake, PHD, REAT (www.jenaleake.com). Through Jena I have learned ways to infuse the expressive arts therapy process with intentional and contemplative elements that create a personalized studio experience for the person(s) that I am working with. To me a studio, is a place where the artist-person dives deeply past the roadblocks, struggles, and difficulties into a rich inner place of their own resources and self-compassion. This studio space can be a place for the client or artist-person to really find their own answers and help regarding current stressors. Over the years, I have witnessed client's come away from the expressive arts therapy experience with new stories, actions, and hopes for their lives.
Another value for me in my work as an expressive arts therapist is that of mindful play in the arts studio. To me the act or the action within the arts studio space or session is very important. Actions through and with art are some of the fibers that weave through out expressive arts therapy work. The arts actions a person takes are directly connected to goals and benefits that are discovered during the expressive arts therapy experience. When we cultivate an arts space that is a place where the arts play has an intentional and present focused orientation. Mindful play can allow someone to let go of the pressures to get things right or open up an opportunity to try some new act or role. This type of mindful and playful experimentation appears to give people a real chance for growth.
The Beauty within
The last value we will explore is that of beauty. I believe attending to beauty is at the center of my practice as an expressive arts therapist/ arts helper. Specifically, by taking this focus in the therapy or educational encounter, we focus on the art and the experiences that we are having interacting in the arts. This focused attention to the beauty of the art allows some expansion and can lead to the experience of gaining fresh knowledge and new perspectives on a current life struggle. During the expressive arts therapy process, I begin to understand my client as an artist-person, I begin to catch a glimpse of their beauty. It appears that as a person's beauty develops in the expressive arts therapy studio, the person's thoughts, emotions, and actions begin to expand in their life. As a person's beauty grows, we begin to see the person's totality, their uniqueness, their skills, their knowledge, their stories, and their hope. As a person grows and enacts their own beauty new possibilities in life can open.
For those of you readers who are interested in expressive arts therapy credentialing and the growing profession of expressive arts therapists, you can find out more at the International Expressive Arts Therapy Association (IEATA, www.ieata.org). The IEATA site contains further information on expressive arts therapy and IEATA as an organization of artist-therapist, artist-consultants, and artists. I hope this post provides information to any interested web-browsers out there and specifically to those people who are interested in how we at Music Journey, LLC work in the expressive arts. Please feel free to send me an e-mail if you have questions or have interest in how expressive arts therapy could help you or someone you care about.
Thanks for your continued interest,
I am very excited to announce, YogaSong, a class that mindfully weaves together yoga and song. Specifically, our YogaSong class will begin Thursday, December 11th at 7 PM at the offices of Malec, Herring & Krause in Mars, PA.
I describe, YogaSong, as a mindful and sensitive integration of seated yoga practice with the singing of simple songs and chants. During each hour-long YogaSong class Barbara and I will guide participants through a series of gentle movements and simple songs with the intention of honoring each participants specific body and mind goals. People have reported that this flowing integrative practice has brought deepening relaxation, stress reduction, and practical strategies to manage the challenges experienced in a busy life.
YogaSong comes out of the collaboration and friendship between Barbara Pane, LCSW, CYT www.barbarapane.com and me (Aaron Teague, MA, MT-BC, LPC). Barbara and I began this collaborative work while serving people with complex mental health problems and have since taken this flowing mindful practice into the community offering it as means of self-care and mindfulness practice to helping professionals in several different settings.
Now, we are now excited to bring the practice of YogaSong to the larger community. Specifically, we will begin December 11th providing this class monthly at the offices of Malec, Herring & Krause in Mars, PA. Space in this class is limited so please call 724-772-4949 to register before December 11th. The cost of each class is $20. Please note this class happens regularly on the second Thursday of each month from 7 - 8 PM.
More about Barbara & Aaron
Barbara Pane, LCSW, CYT is a licensed clinical social worker, psychotherapist and yoga teacher/therapist. As a psychotherapist, Barbara specializes in Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). DBT is recognized as one of the third-wave mindfulness based cognitive behavioral therapies. She works with individuals, teens, families, and groups. As a yoga therapist, Barbara appreciates the value of yoga as a tool to deepen self-awareness, self-care and self-acceptance. You can find out more about Barbara at her recently re-launched web-site www.barbarapane.com
For more information about Aaron K. Teague, MA, MT-BC, LPC please click on the "About Us" tab on our home page www.musicjourney.net
Thanks so much for reading and please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have about YogaSong or the other services provided by Music Journey. Stay-tuned for a series of posts detailing the arts based services that Music Journey provides in Western Pennsylvania and around the world via the web.
Love & Light to you,
I recently completed supervisory work with a young therapist and this has given me cause to stop and reflect on supervision both as a recipient of supervision and as a clinical supervisory. I sometimes imagine this as the helping hand, helping mind, and helping heart of the supervisor assisting the supervisee to reflect and ponder on her/his work with client(s). Sometimes my hands are gesturing toward some piece of information and sometimes my guidance is reflective of the nuances of the work not yet spoken. As I work as in supervision with the arts, it seems that the stories shared become enlivened in the arts and this brings new possibilities and perspectives to mind for the supervisee.
My work as a supervisor is very rewarding and a way I give something back to others professionally. The rewards are many and some of them include refreshment, surprise, inspiration, and gratitude. I've found a level of renewal and refreshment from assisting another professional find some degree of success and helpfulness with her/his client. It seems like at times simply listening is huge help and other times a suggestion or simple reflection provides a glimmer of hope with a particularly tough clinical situation. Another wonderful reward in supervision has been the moments of surprise a moment where we are stopped and stunned in the supervisory process. The best of these moments are when when the supervisee says they trusted some "gut" feeling or her/he says "I finally understood my client this week". I think those are moments of real benefit for the supervisee and the client. Another reward for me as a clinical supervisors has to do with the moments of inspiration that I've received when the person I'm supervising shares something that gives me some hope and inspires my excitement about our clinical work or I feel impact in my own life. Lastly, I say gratitude is the real heart of the matter of supervision for me today. I have been the witness and co-traveler "walking beside" the supervisee in a particular way and felt my heart warmed and opened more during each encounter and this reminds me of the sacred opportunity the work of supervision is to me.
As a recipient of clinical supervision, I say THANKS. My supervisory life has been most colorful; specifically I've received such varied and creative supervision from many different professionals. I send this thanks to many supervisors in the many realms and roles including the music therapists, dance therapists, social workers, counselors, art therapists, psychologists and expressive arts therapists who have helped me along my way. All those wise and honest people have helped me to become the helper that I am today. In my own supervision, I have found enormous help when a supervisor has a easy way of balancing supportive with challenging questions, balancing teaching with a bit of a critique, and a balancing their memories with their broader view as a seasoned professional. I remember some of those early supervisions where my supervisor hearing my doubts urged me to claim some success in a particular session or the time where a supervisor very directly told me that I was "too hesitant" and my client's would be better served with some more articulate actions. The stories and learning are many and my debt to so many supervisors is large.
Closing this post for the week, I want to send big thanks to many people. I send big thanks to all the supervisee's who have asked me for a help and for all those supervisors who have helped me see the bigger picture and the wider view of a clinical situation. In reflecting now, I see how my professional growth and development as a music therapist, expressive arts therapists, and counselor have been lovingly nurtured in relationships with many wonderful people.
With deep thanks,
Music Journey's music therapist, Nicole Hahna, was interviewed for an article in the Ellwood City Ledger by Patti Stone. The article highlighted Music Journey's focus on the use of The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery & Music (GIM) in working with clients with various psychological needs. In the interview, Nicole discussed her use of GIM with survivors of abuse, trauma, and domestic violence.
To read the full article, go to: http://www.ellwoodcityledger.com/news/local_news/music-therapy-can-help-with-psychological-issues/article_fe9137c5-14b3-5f91-873c-ae20a7a0815f.html.
Additionally, Nicole was interviewed by WESA, Pittsburgh's NPR Station, for her work as Co-Chair of the PA Task Force on Occupational Regulation of Music Therapy. As Co-Chair, Nicole helped to organize 2 Music Therapy Resolutions sponsored by Senator Folmer and Representative Deasy as part of the 2nd Annual PA Music Therapy Hill Day.
To read the full article, go to: http://wesa.fm/post/pa-house-and-senate-recognize-music-therapy.
We here at Music Journey, LLC are excited about the up-coming workshop, Music & Imagery are Amazing, facilitated by our own Aaron Teague. This workshop is being brought to life also by the gracious offering of the workshop space by Laurie Arnold.
This workshop will introduce participants to elements of The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music (GIM). GIM is a transformative exploration of inner experiences and music. The intention of this workshop will be focused on accessing inner resources and self-nurturing. Through a lively and artistic process we will listen to music in a new and deepened manner and respond to these listening experiences through visual art and writing. The workshop is sure to be a wonderful opportunity. Please don't miss this experience; space is limited to 15 participants.
For registration call Aaron Teague at 412-761-0751 or E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Where: Friendship neighborhood of Pittsburgh
When: Saturday November 1st from 10AM - 12 PM
Cost: Workshop fee is $20 payable in cash, check, or credit card on the day of the workshop.
Yes, fall is upon us and Nicole and I are making our way around the Pittsburgh area answering questions about our work in Music Therapy, The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music, and Expressive Arts Therapy. Next week, we will be joining select healing arts practitioners from around the Burgh at the, Hillman Cancer Center's Integrative Oncology Wellness Fair. This will take place Thursday October 23rd from 12:00 - 4:00 PM across the street from the Hillman Cancer Center in the UPMC Shadyside conference center.
Learn more from Dr. Lanie Frances director of Integrative Oncology at the Hillman Cancer Center speaking with local news about the event http://pittsburgh.cbslocal.com/video/10696067-integrative-wellness-fair-preview/
We here at Music Journey, LLC are honored to be part of this event that includes: Art Therapist Doctor Lori Mackey, massage therapist Jacqueline Algaier, http://www.sanctuaryhealth.massagetherapy.com and our friends at Music for Life http://www.musicforlifepgh.com among others. This event is free and open to the public. So drop by, say hello, and register for some nice door prizes!
Thanks for checking in Music Journey, LLC