Drift Away

December 10, 2011

Hi there!  I guess the holidays season being in full force has meant that I only have time to blog once a week.  Didn’t see that coming.

Anyway, yesterday, I led a session in the psych unit that I have led before, but not for a while.

You know the song Drift Away, sung most famously by Dobie Gray?

Fantastic song. “Day after day, I’m more confused, yet I look for the light through the pourin’ rain.”

There’s sadness, confusion, and pain, BUT there is a light there.  He hasn’t found it yet, but he knows it’s there somewhere on the other side of the storm.  And then there’s the whole music making things better thing, which I enjoy for obvious reasons.  Love it.

So, we use this song quite a bit on my unit.  Sometimes we just sing it, and discuss any pertinent issues the patients have, but sometimes we write our own lyrics to it.  Here’s a picture of the fill-in-the-blanks form that I created a few years ago:

First, I hand out the original lyric sheets and we all sing the song (accompanied by the guitar). Then I ask each person if there are any lyrics that they relate to in the song.  After each person has expressed themselves, I pass out the fill-in-the-blank sheet, and ask the group members to fill in the blanks for their own version of the song.  I tell them that they can change any other lyrics they want, I reiterate that rhyming and syllabic accuracy is not the point and doesn’t matter, then I play chords on the guitar while they’re writing.  When everyone is finished, I give the participants the option to share their song with the other group members.  They can speak or sing their lyrics, or ask me to sing what they wrote.

When everyone has shared their work, we sing the song again, and I encourage the participants to sing their versions while I sing the original lyrics.  It’s a great exercise that encourages creativity, but also provides a structure for people who are more concrete, or who aren’t able to think clearly because of medications they’re adjusting to, recent ECT treatments, or simply, a compromised mental state.

If you are in this or a related field, try this exercise out!  It’s always a hit with my clients.



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