Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Five: songs for addiction/substance abuse

5 songs for addiction and substance abuse:

1. "Addicted" by Kelly Clarkson
2. "We Cry" by The Script
3. "Under the Bridge" by Red Hot Chili Peppers
4. "Sunday Morning Call" by Oasis
5. "Slow Fade" by Casting Crowns

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Cut & Paste Songwriting Activity

It is often difficult to put into words what we are feeling. It is even more difficult to write a song about it. This is a songwriting activity that won't instill fear in your patients once you introduce the session. It is cut & paste project. Anyone who can cut and paste (and even those who can't) can be successful.

In preparation for this activity, you must create a page of song lyrics (one line from different songs-about 30-35 per page). This number of lines (and whether you give them one, two, or three pages) should vary depending on the functioning level of your group.

Here are two pages of song lyrics (the goal is positive thinking) that you are free to use. There's a little bit of Counting Crows, Whitney Houston, Sara Bareilles, John Mayer, Rascal Flatts, Casting Crowns, Michael Jackson, and everything else in it.

The steps to this activity are simple enough:
1. Pass out lyric sheets.
2. Patients read through each line and put a mark by the ones they like (at least 10 lines).
3. Patients cut out the lyrics they put a mark by.
4. Patients rearrange song lyrics in a way that makes sense to them.
5. Patients can glue the lyrics to a piece of construction paper and decorate.

a) People going through substance withdrawals or who are experiencing any sort of tremors will have difficulty cutting out lyrics. In this case, you may cut the lyrics for them OR allow them to handwrite the lyrics.
b) Use glue sticks rather than bottles of glue. The reasons for this are obvious, I think.
c) Patients can change lyrics/add to lyrics/etc. to make the song exactly how they'd like.
d) For people with visual impairments, make text large and easy to read. Give them fewer lines of lyrics to read so as not to overwhelm them.
e) It is easy for patients to get overwhelmed with the amount of words on a page. Plan accordingly by providing fewer choices: larger text, fewer lines, fewer pages.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm taking it step by step, brick by brick

Thank you, Whitney Houston for your song "Step By Step," which is perfect, by the way, for leading groups in a discussion about managing goals.

There are times when life is overwhelming, when we feel like it is more than we can bare. In order to keep our heads above the water, we have to keep moving on [thank you Kelly Clarkson ("Breakaway"), Tom Petty ("Time To Move On"), and Rascal Flatts ("Stand")]. We are always moving towards some goal, searching for a purpose in life. We make goals to survive. But when a goal seems unmanageable, how do we approach it? We must break it into small tasks, ones that ARE manageable and bring us closer what we want.

Today with my group at BHC, we simply discussed and practiced breaking overall goals into specific steps. To do this, I split the group into pairs and passed out a small percussion instrument to each. Their activity was to figure out how to play the instrument, write out the steps, then teach it to the other groups.

The point was to get so specific that it almost seemed silly. Take egg shakers for example:

1. Choose two egg shakers of similar size, weight, and sound.
2. Pick up both egg shakers, placing one in each hand.
3. Grasp the egg shaker in hands.
4. Shake the egg shaker.

Now, this seems too easy, but for anyone with a physical limitation in their upper body, each task is suddenly extremely important. That person may spend days or weeks trying to achieve just one step.

Also, I ask the group to imagine they weren't in the room to show a person how to play their instrument. How can you write each step so that the other groups could exactly duplicate your actions?

This is a difficult task, but an important one to understand that a goal that may seem overwhelming is suddenly much more manageable when you take it "One Step at a Time" (thanks Jordin Sparks!).