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The Power Of Music Therapy To Calm And Heal

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Music therapy expert, Bree Gordon, teaches us how the trauma of the last 2 years could have affected your psychological and physical health (in ways you may not even realize!) and how to use music therapy as a powerful intervention to calm and heal. 

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IN THIS EPISODE, YOU WILL LEARN:

  • Music therapy activities and tools.
  • The best instrument to learn as the foundation for music.
  • How trauma can affect you even if you have no memory of it.
  • Practical ways to asses how your mental health may be affecting you physically.
  • Practical steps to healing after trauma.
  • How to use music therapy with your kids at home.

RESOURCES/LINKS MENTIONED:

Music therapy expert, Bree Gordon, teaches us how the trauma of the last 2 years could have affected your psychological and physical health (in ways you may not even realize!) and how to use music therapy as a powerful intervention to calm and heal. 

ABOUT BREE GORDON

Bree is an experienced speaker on trauma and connection. Bree has been featured on multiple national media platforms including NPR, BroadwayWorld, and VeryWell. With board certification in Music Therapy and 12 years of experience working in medical and community settings, Bree is highly respected for her clinical work as well as her success in creating jobs in the field of creative arts therapies. Bree has served as the co-owner and Director of Creative Arts Therapies of the Palm Beaches since 2012, staffing and developing music and art therapy programs for over 100 organizations throughout South Florida.

Music therapy expert, Bree Gordon, teaches us how the trauma of the last 2 years could have affected your psychological and physical health (in ways you may not even realize!) and how to use music therapy as a powerful intervention to calm and heal. 

CONNECT WITH BREE

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Transcript

That headache is not just a headache. That backache is not just a backache. That fatigue is not just fatigue. Your body is telling you. You need something. Welcome to the imperfectly empowered podcast with leading DIY lifestyle blogger on a full. Where women are inspired with authentic stories and practical strategies to reclaim their hearts and homes by empowering transformation.
One imperfect day at a time. Hello, and welcome back to another episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. I am your host on a former. Today on the podcast. It’s my pleasure to introduce you to Bree Gordon. Bree is an experienced speaker on trauma and connection, specifically healing post-trauma and using music therapy for healing purposes.
She has been featured in NPR, Broadway world and very well. And with a board certification in music therapy and 12 years experience working in medical and community settings, she is highly respected for her clinical work, as well as her success in creating. In the field of creative art therapies, she has served as the co-owner and director of creative arts therapies of the Palm beach area.
Since 2012, she has staffed and developed music and art therapy programs for over a hundred organizations throughout Southern Florida. Welcome Bri. Hi, I’m Bri Bree. I am so excited to learn from you and hear more about the concept of music and art as therapy. We are huge fans of the performing arts in general, in our house, big music fans.
And I’m curious, was there something initially in your earlier years that led you to where you are today? Like what prompted you to enter the world of music? Let alone using it for theater? I mean, honestly, the older I get, the more I can point to just about everything leading to this point, which is really, really kind of cool to sit back and observe.
Yeah. So going back to the beginning, I I’m an only child and I grew up mostly with just, my mom is a single parent. My mom was a CNA in a nursing home. And so when we didn’t have babysitting or childcare, I just went to work with mom, you know, if we had the day off of school or whatever. And so she will share with me that even as young as three, even before memories that I really have.
We kind of holding court in the forum of the nursing home and, you know, singing and dancing for all the residents. And I mean, I loved it. I always felt really comfortable with that. As we got a little bit older, my mom transitioned to doing case care management in the whole. I started working for her, even at age 14, helping out with meals and companionship, things like that.
We had moved in with my grandma at that point as well. So I think that throughout my childhood, I just had a lot of unique opportunities to become really comfortable, connecting to people outside of my experience, connecting to people in different generations, with different backgrounds, religions, cultures, things like that.
So I knew that I wanted to be in that space of how I knew I wanted to be helping others, people that were different than me. I felt like I did recognize I had a gift in that area. I knew I wanted to be involved in music. That was to me, the one thread throughout my life, through living through as a child of divorce.
And I ended up losing my dad when I was very young and all the kind of challenges that along with that, through. Music was always the constant use. It was always the thread that gave me a community that gave me a form of expression where I felt one most like myself, but also permission to kind of step into.
Another roll right. Step into another place for awhile escape for a while. So it’s kind of that dual relationship of feeling so authentic, but also allowing myself to become something in someone else. Also, I knew that I wanted to combine music and whatever I was doing to help others, because it helped me so much.
I started to apply to school. For dual majors between psychology and vocal performance. I don’t know what I was going to do with that, because this is not a thing. And maybe it should be maybe. Yeah, it’s not yet. So in just doing kind of a Google search for that. I realized that music therapy was the thing, please.
Pardon? The sweet singing sounds of my nine month old in the background. Ah, I can think of many worse things to hear across the zoom feed. So, and through the last two years, I’m sure we’ve heard them all right. Exactly. But once I realized that music therapy was actually a path that I could pursue, it just seemed like the absolute perfect fit.
And then getting into school, we started to break into our practicums and our internship opportunities. I realized I was the only one in my class that felt comfortable working with seniors. And that was felt called to do. That has really marked a lot of my career. It’s not been my entire career working with seniors, but most of the way through my specialty has been working with adults with neurodegenerative disorders.
So those that are living with Alzheimer’s dementia, Parkinson’s stroke survivors, and really through that has transitioned to specializing with working with trauma survivors. I have the opportunity to work with a lot of Holocaust survivors. World war II vets, and just a lot of individuals, whether they have something they can kind of point to in their life or not, that have lived through one traumatic experience or another are seen who have been thriving through the last 80, 90, a hundred years.
I mean, think of the changes, right. Experiences as they’ve lived through. So music can really help. Not only. Let them express themselves, help them communicate, socialize, but get back in touch with pieces of themselves that they really love that they really miss. And for a lot of them, especially our Holocaust survivors, get in touch with an inner child that really never got.
Yeah. So it was a long answer. I know, but I love it. Oh my gosh. There’s so much to unpack and all of that. So what instruments did you start out? Did you start out playing instruments or was it primarily. Performance or where did. Yeah. I started like everybody on the piano I quickly learned or probably even more quickly than me.
My mom probably quickly learned, again, mentioned a single parent, you know, tough hours. It’s not exactly easy to pay for private piano lessons. Do you want to make sure your kids good? Right. I was not same girl. Same. I was very easily distracted. I was more interested in kind of socializing with the teacher at five than actually playing anything on the piano was observed of what an improviser I was, which has really actually served me really well in my career to be able to adapt in the moment musically.
But it actually happened to be that the first resection. After my dad had passed, I was seven years old. And my teacher, I don’t remember if someone asked me if I wanted to do something for him, but somehow it came out that I had wanted to sing. I wanted to sing the song from a distance. I’m obsessed with this idea of heaven at the cusp of magical thinking and study child psychology seven is right in that zone of like, And what’s going on, but I also really have a little bit of hope that there’s unicorns and all this happening.
So the song from a distance for me was like this beautiful idea as a kid that I hadn’t said goodbye, that you’re just kind of watch. You’re still there. You’re still watching me from a distance. So I remember singing that one of my first, like really strong memories. I remember who was in the room, who was sitting where.
I don’t think I ever took another piano lesson from that teacher, after that, he was like, we’re going to switch to voice for me that has just changed. My whole life. Went on to pick up a couple of different instruments through the years and music therapy, education, your college program, you do have to be proficient in piano that came back to haunt me, our voice and percussion.
We do a lot of. Group rhythm activities. So piano, I came back to have a new relationship with it as an adult career, but voice has always been my passion. Yeah, well, it’s interesting with the piano. My daughter is nine and she started piano at six. She started and I’ve always told her, cause I wish somebody had helped me understand this.
When I was younger, that piano is really music education. You don’t play piano. More often than not to be a pianist. You play as a foundation for anything else, musical that you want to do, whether it be singing or I even tell her she really wants to be on stage. She loves the stage. She’s in a performing arts academy.
Now she just loves it. So I’m trying to like find that balance between like, you don’t have to be a pianist. We only take lessons every other week. Sort of just like fun and laid back. Cause it’s exactly like what you’re saying. So I think a takeaway here for anybody listening, who has a child who’s interested in music or a grandchild or whatever piano is really music education.
If you want to do anything with music, have that foundation there, but it really kind of sets you up for like what you’re saying. All of the possibilities with music. Even when teaching, I do some lessons for voice and guitar and even teaching guitar. I started the keyboard, felt the structure of the guitar.
Right. If you explain it as a keyboard and then you kind of. Figure out those keys. And like you’re saying that salvation work for music education and the keyboard. It’s a lot easier to translate that. So, yeah. That’s, that’s a great tip for sure. Yeah. I love that. So currently, do you primarily sing for music therapy?
Is that sort of your primary instrument? If you will. His voice, voice and guitar is definitely the easy to bring into rooms. Like I mentioned, the conversation working chairside and oncology while patients are receiving their infusion treatment, it’s really hard to wheel a keyboard and into that situation.
Right. So a guitar just. Come in. It’s a really friendly thing. Like typically you kind of see a guitar. It’s like, oh, something really adaptable. It’s really almost like, even if you don’t understand music therapy, you kind of understand the idea of like you gonna sit down and play a guitar. I can make that request.
Right. You sit down at a piano. It’s like, oh, they’re going to choose what’s coming next. But if someone walks in, it’s such a friendly kind of vibe to be like, what are you in the mood for today? What kind of music do you like? You know? And so I think. Reduces some intimidation around. I can definitely see that.
Yeah. That’s probably our primary. We do use the piano keyboard. Sometimes I use a lot of drumming in groups, especially if it’s a new group, I’m going to meet going into a, um, addiction treatment center. And it’s really transient setting where a lot of people are coming in and out. One of the core goals of that group would be group cohesion.
Right. Recover as a group, we learn as a group of healers, a group. So rhythm is just an excellent way to introduce that into the room. I tell them these drums literally exist to amplify your voice, to make your rhythm louder in the room. You can’t do it wrong. It’s all about what’s inside you coming out, right.
Honoring that individual voice, but also helping it be a part of the group conversation. So we do a lot of different exercises for layering rhythms into each other for kind of questioning and answering through rhythm and music. So those are kind of the two biggest things that we use. A lot of times clients will have music, whether it’s in addiction treatment and they really.
Rapid hip-hop you don’t want to hear me that, that very therapy for, with my seniors. And they really love the sounds of big band. I can’t replicate with 30 days, Glenn Miller orchestra, experience myself and a guitar. So we do do some recorded. But a majority of the music that we use is live not only provided by the music therapist, but inclusive of the clients themselves.
So do a lot of songwriting as well. Music analysis, things like that. How do you use your own experiences walking through loss and trauma? How do you tap into that? When you now work on the other side of it, in terms of healing, do you find yourself ever, suddenly experiencing a very poignant emotion where you think like, wow, where did that come from?
But somebody who’s experienced or whatever you experienced that, where you tap into that and it feels raw and fresh again. Or is it just kind of forcing yourself to bring those emotions back to kind of help relate to where somebody is at? How do you navigate that really great question. So I also work with survivors of gun violence and one of the communities that is the students of Stoneman Douglas and, and we had for several years done summer camps pre COVID times.
And actually we didn’t adapt in one this last summer. Well, it was all trauma-informed. We had a team, creative arts therapists, music therapy, myself, a drama therapist, art therapist, and our second year through the camp, we just had some interesting things, kind of come up. The first year we did the camp was June.
The shooting happened in February camps. There was nothing PTSD about this. This was active trauma, right? It was just a few months after everything. I mean, the school had come back for the rest of the semester, but nothing was ever the same. They didn’t know what the next year was going to look like. I remember the kids coming in saying I saw in the news today.
I might have to wear a clear plan. Backpack or walk. I don’t even know. No one’s telling me this. I’m seeing it on national news. What I’m going to have to walk into school. So nothing was solidified for them. I think that their trust in adults was affected their trust in everything was affected. So the first year was about figuring that out.
The second year was really kind of settling into this is part of my life now. And I’ve now gone through a whole school year. After the fact and kind of figuring out, and some of the kids we’re now starting to transition some of those freshmen. We was in a freshmen building. We’re starting to go into their senior year.
Kids that were older, were transitioning out of high school, out of that community. And for whatever reason, there was just a lot of years reasons that that year was really special for the camp. However, I realized I was holding a lot of it. So at the end of the camp, the camp ended up. Friday that next few days I was really feeling it in my body.
Yeah. I ended up actually having to walk with a cane. I was really having a lot of pain. I ended up going to the doctor and the doctor was like, did you get a car accident? Like you have three herniated disks in your back. Like what happened to you? I’m like, you know what? I led a trauma camp and I never went to therapy.
I held all of this for six weeks for 40 kids and I never wanted. Talked about it with someone else. I had no place to put that and I truly truly believe that that is exactly what manifested my physical pain. And it’s not the first time in my life. I’ve felt that I felt the effects of like, what can happen to you when you’re not taking care of yourself, but all of these things exist in you.
And like you just said to your point, you’re doing work where this stuff is coming up. Right. And so many times I’m really tempted. I’ve dealt with that. I’ve gone to therapy. I’ve processed you that I did the retreats. I did all that. I’m good. Right? What happens when we’re not keeping track of that maintenance for ourselves while holding so much of that for others?
My trauma is not gun violence. My drama is not that specific, but there’s so much in what we see in others that can bring up things surprising within yeah. Although it may seem unrelated, although you may have addressed it in the past, if you think that’s a one and done and continue to maintain that in yourself, your body will let you know.
And that’s. Yeah. Yeah, it’s interesting. I’ve experienced two sides of the coin when it comes to whether it be trauma or a loss. I worked in the emergency department for 10 years. I’m a nurse practitioner by education and several of the ERs that I’ve worked in were trauma ERs. And so as a professional, similar to what you’re saying, Seen that, where I’m standing on the professional side of trauma, where I’m watching families come in, maybe I’m the one telling them this is what’s happened and giving the bad news.
So there’s that side of like, what you’re saying is like the professional side of trauma where I’m walking people through, but I’m still. Dealing with a lot of the traumatic emotions myself, because maybe it’s a patient who’s similar in age to a loved one, or maybe it’s a child. I mean, there’s so many things.
So on one side I would argue, I think there’s so many professionals out there who let to your point are experiencing traumatic. Daily and their jobs and walking people through trauma and they never get the outlet to release that. And that is really hard. And I think emergency medicine is probably one of the most evident areas where we need work in that, because I think we don’t even recognize the toll.
It takes on our bodies. Like what you’re saying. We’re absorbing everyone else’s grief and trying to. Push it down ourselves. And then on the flip side, I lost my best friend to breast cancer of 20 years. And she was like a sister to me. We were roommates all the four years of college. And for me, what was really challenging and yet a blessing at the same time is I helped take care of her in her last three weeks.
So there was the like personal grief. There was also the grief as a nurse practitioner with all these years of education. I couldn’t do anything helper. It’s that concept of. Tapping into different emotions of trauma and recognizing maybe some of the healing that needs to happen in different ways of releasing that.
So I’m resonating with what you’re saying on both levels, the professional and the personal. And what would you say to somebody? Maybe it’s an ER. Who is dealing with trauma all of the time and has no way to release it. What would you say to that person who thinks like they don’t have a personal traumatic event, but they’re dealing with trauma all of the time.
What are some words that you might have for that person? Okay. So first of all, anyone who is listening to this and thinks this doesn’t apply to me. Yeah. Traveling from CUNY big T little T whatever that means. The last two years, right. Of everyone’s life. We have been experienced collective global trauma.
Now you asked me what I say to an ER nurse, right? Yes. Especially for the last year. Wow. I mean, I have some good friends that are ER, nurses and I mean, it is. The feeling like they need to constantly have on this brave, strong face, even on the clock, because even off the clock, your friends are texting you.
Right? Like we went through a really big scare with my husband the week, actually that I delivered my daughter. Oh gosh. Catalyze with COVID and actually did need to receive like. And saving pictures and I’m texting her right now. You’re saying this to me and I’m thinking, wow, for her getting off a shift after 12 hours of working with COVID patients all day, and now her closest couple friends are texting.
O two SATs at 87. What do I do? Call the ambulance. Here we go. It’s never ending for these. So they are constantly been living over the last two years in this almost survival state. I don’t need to say for everyone, but this is just kind of the observations that I’m seeing or that I can imagine. That’s not healthy for our bodies, for our minds.
It’s certainly very honorable what these individuals have been doing. Nurses, doctors, CNS, the housekeeping, everybody involved. Absolutely. These hospitals running always, but especially these last two years. And honestly, especially even right now where we’re at again, hitting new levels of max capacity, you have to check in with yourself.
And I know that that sounds like. Everybody says that right. And self made right now. And I’m a big fan of the bubble bath and the petty. If you’re in the glass of wine, I get it. But that we really need to think about what that means beyond. And I go back to what I said earlier about listening to your body.
That headache is not just a headache. That back is not just a backache. That fatigue is not just fatigue. Your body is telling you, you need something more. And that doesn’t necessarily mean you need to leave your job or go on a big vacation or whatever that this is not the time. Maybe for some. Decisions to make, right.
So how can we find that balance? Where every day, five to 10 minutes, a day, you are finding that time, that space for you, just, you, that’s not giving yourself to someone else that’s not constantly living in that. You know, that survival state, that tension. I just think about that physical tension. That’s when they’re constantly waiting for the next ball to drop, you know, for that next.
S variant for that next spike for that next. Goodbye on an iPhone. We lost my father-in-law. He didn’t have COVID, but he was in a COVID unit when he passed and every zooming it and you know, we’re FaceTiming and it’s just the way that things have been. And that I know is difficult. Thank God we had nurses and nurse practitioners and doctors that called my mother-in-law from their personal cell phone to allow for those communications to happen.
God bless them for that. Right. That is another thing that is expected of those professionals. So. I talk a lot about what a respite, a five minute song can be, honestly, just selecting intentionally, not just turning on the radio and just to have noise in the back. Yeah. And intentional gift. You can give yourself that when I feel this way, this is a song I can listen to.
And I’m going to spend five minutes of my time, just sitting with this song, listening to the messages it’s sharing with a, why did I choose this song for myself in this moment? What does the song I need for grounding? What does a song I need for connection? What does the song I need for stress relief?
What’s a song I need for motivation and energy and just really those on like a Spotify or whatever for yourself that you just give yourself that intentional. Writing journaling. If you’re a journaler is always a great way, just to kind of free write, to write poetry, to write song lyrics, whatever that looks like.
It doesn’t have to be shared with anyone. It’s not for anyone else it’s for you. So just building in small five to 10 minute practices and every day to just give yourself that grounding, that break that reconnection to yourself, because you are in the position you’re in to give to others because of who you are, but it’s so easy.
To lose connection with that when you’re just constantly attending to everyone else. I love that we’re going to take a quick break, but when we come back, stay tuned, Virginia, going to do a speed round of this or that with Bree, have a little fun. And we’re going to hear more of her expert advice on healing and trauma and so much to dive into.
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It’s basically two options you pick one or the other. Not overly stressful or traumatizing. Right. Okay. All right. Coffee. Do you prefer hotter ice? Oh, this is already hard. It’s like she’s drama.
No. Okay. So we’re going to go from like, let’s go like a coping place. Like I love we’re talking about what do we do for ourselves? Self-care then ice copies. Like I’m looking for it. I get out my car, go to Dunkin and get that ice coffee. That’s exciting. Isn’t it? It’s what gets me up in the morning. Sad to say, I mean, coffee and Jesus, not in that order, but, um, what’s your favorite ice coffee drink?
Um, that would be a car Dunkin donuts. Okay. Cream. All right. There you go. She’s got her order. Ready? Candy or baked goods. Well, I’ve celiac. So candy. Okay. What’s your favorite candy? It’s harder to find it would be Reese’s peanut butter cups. That’s a great choice. Music or podcasts.
Well, I do both, but for myself personally music. Yeah. Okay. What’s your favorite? Like what’s your go-to if you had to be on an island for the rest of your life and you could only bring one like bands or anything, vocalists, whatever along, what are you taking? Oh, okay. I was not expecting that. Okay. Would you rather listen to well-played we’re assuming these instruments are well-played violin or saxophone.
Oh two completely different. Yeah. Gosh, that’s tough. But my gut said violin, but I also love jazz sax. Yeah. What’s your favorite instrument to listen to? Let’s just throw that out there. Hmm. Probably acoustic guitar. Okay. Oh, interest minus the cello. Ooh. I love my board nine year old. She already like struggles to want to do everything.
And I’m like, Hey, the cello, but also could you exactly like she has the time to do that thing. That’s an expensive instrument, mom. It is. It really is. Oh, it’s a beautiful, okay. What’s worse laundry or. Oh, oh Lord. I can’t wait for my husband to listen to this. I lack in both areas, but all of the above my advice.
Yeah. Yeah. Which one? Laundry. Yeah, not the washing it, but the folding and putting away, putting away is in my room. Yes. I need laundry. Oh, okay. Flats. Um, five, 10 flats. You’re five, 10, oh girl. Beautiful. I’m five, three. I like sat up taller, as I said that I’m like, so I’ve been doing a lot of sessions through zoom at the beginning of this.
Now my patient.
No idea. Uh, I would love that I should play volleyball in high school and I was a setter and I was like, oh, this is pathetic. I should play volleyball touch at the top of the net. Oh my goodness. You say one of the quotes that you have said is that everyone goes through trauma, but not everyone grows through.
And I love this phrase. And again, as somebody who can speak to it, kind of on the personal and the professional side, you’ve sort of touched on this already. One of the things that you mentioned when we were speaking earlier is that it’s easy to lose who you are when you’re constantly on survival mode, taking care of somebody or taking care of other people.
And I think this can even happen in relationships. There could almost be like emotional trauma, whether you’re working through neglect or emotional abuse, like it doesn’t even have to be. Physical manifestations, but I think you can still then be constantly, you know, in the survival mode, taking care of other people, whether it be your kids or parents, whatever the case may be.
And I love that you mentioned, you tapped into the idea of you need to sort of ground yourself again, and things that helped make you, who you are, the things that brought you in. Joy and happiness and sort of bring that reminder of what fills you with life. And you were specifically tapping into music and I love that idea.
So for those of you listening and watching the takeaway, there is find a song that inspires you find a song that comms, you find a song that pumps you up. Like, I love the idea of kind of assigning music to these different emotions and what you’re lacking and what you need. So that’s takeaway number one, I love that Breesa.
How else in your experience, can people practically help heal on kind of an outpatient basis in their own lives? From some of the sense of like survival mode? What are other ways? Obviously we know that fitness nutrition, like whatever, the boring stuff that we all know, but like practical ways, maybe more specifically that you have seen people respond well to when they do these things in their life.
Go to therapy. Ah, there you go. I don’t disagree with that. Yeah, that was simplistic about, but all the things you mentioned, I really have a story for everything that nutrition and fitness and all these things that I know when I’m neglecting this. I know right now in my life, when I’m neglect. But, I mean, I can just point to so many things about, first of all, having celiac, my whole life changed when I changed my diet.
And I think a lot of people living out there that just don’t change their diet because I didn’t till I was 25 and I’ve lived with the struggles in my body since I was born. I mean, certainly those certain agents as a kid, I didn’t understand. But when I made that commitment to change my diet a hundred percent forever, that’s when my.
With the exception of the story I told earlier, my joints started to get better. My migraines went from once a month, once a year. Put on healthy weight, my skin cleared up, my anxiety went down all of these things because I had made a choice, which wasn’t right. It’s not easy. It’s getting easier now. But even 10 years ago, you know, to go to a house and all they have is pizza or to go to the holiday party and all the rest is donuts, whatever.
Like I get it. It’s not comfortable, especially when you’re really thin. And you’re thin for reasons of why you have celiacs, people just eat, but then there’s that. Fear of like, well, should I eat? Because now they think there’s something wrong with me that I eat. So everything is about a really intentional choice and feeling comfortable and confident in that choice.
Right. For working out, I’m not a huge worker router. I’m kind of like one of those people that gets into spurts for it. But I did get into this virtual bar program during Coleman. It was the longest I’d ever committed to something ever. It’s no joke. I felt it was awesome. And I did it every day. It was incredible.
And you know what happened the week after I finished eight weeks of bar, every time. I got pregnant. And I was like, I don’t, maybe this is because I’m so competent. And maybe this is my health and everything. And I was all the stars you’ve been struggling to get pregnant before that necessarily, but I not trying either.
Things that, yeah, I don’t really have a big infertility story to share, which I know so many do struggle with that. So that wasn’t my story necessarily, but I wasn’t really trying or not trying either way kind of like I put it up to the universe. If it happens, it happens. And my God am I glad it happened, right.
In my entire life. And so at timing who the heck would get pregnant in three months into a pandemic who would do that when you’re just owners and you don’t know the future of the economy, but it happened. And it ended up being the absolute perfect time for us and our family. And I really do think a lot of things have aligned through decisions that I made.
’cause, you know, not all the thing I did during that time. During that month, when I finished that program, I went back to therapy. I just wanted to know everything that I could know about myself, about my generational trauma, about, you know, especially when I found out I was pregnant neuro-psychology of the child’s brain and child-parent bonding and I’d want it to make every choice that I could possibly make for myself and for my daughter before she was even here, set her up for success.
So when I talked earlier, That paid. I was feeling in my back. Like that should be the last case scenario. Right. Right. Because before that, if I’m honest with myself, my anxiety was going up. I was having nightmares about some of the things I was hearing at the camp. Things like this were happening. Stuff was showing up for me when I’m watching a TV show or a movie, and I’m having flashbacks of memories, whatever, but I ignored all that stuff because I could.
And because we do like, as a society, we do, we push off. I haven’t saw me. I don’t sleep well. I have anxiety. It’s just wired, all these things. We just excuse them away until we can’t anymore. And when we can’t anymore, as oftentimes when we feel that in our body, right. So checking in with yourself mentally and emotionally really needs to be.
Where we start, not what we push off. Well, and I love, it’s funny that I said like, you know, fitness, intuition, we all know that, which is hilarious. Cause I’m a fitness nutrition coach. But what I appreciated that you said is the problem is that we throw out these answers, for example, fitness and nutrition and people are like, yep, I know that, but I don’t know.
How to actually implement that into my life. But I appreciate that you said is I think what we so often struggle with is we know that we should, or shouldn’t do something, but we’re not willing to follow through with the choice to make the change. And you said it’s not easy. And I think right there is the kind of like area that we need to pause for a second, because I think so many times we put off something because we know it’s going to be hard.
But it’s like, if we can get over that initial hurdle, it might actually save us from much greater pain and much greater challenge. If we’re willing to do the hard things today, we might actually make it much easier for ourselves tomorrow. And the next day, it is a lot harder on the other end. If you don’t make these.
Yeah. And that, I think that’s great that you’re honing in on that because I think that’s something that needs to be kind of like press the pause button there is, if it feels overwhelming, then it’s probably the right thing to do right now. Like if you’re like, oh, I don’t think I can do that. It may be the exact thing that you need to do.
Yeah, I totally agree. Like, what is this so many idioms about this, right? If it doesn’t feel challenging, then you’re not going to grow, or I messed that up big time, but you know what? I get it. Just do the hard things. People do. The hard thing. We can do hard things. But I also understand the feeling of being overwhelmed by opening the personal development book.
And it’s like the 10 habits you have to do every day to succeed by waking up at 5:00 PM. Other than when my child was like two weeks old and I needed to feed her every 45 minutes, I’m liking. I’m going to do it. I just know that about myself. Right. I accept that about myself as a human, you know, they have the different prototypes.
What animal are you? What are you most productive? It ain’t me, whatever animal. I’m not a morning. Animal morning animal. Rightfully so then me opening that book in my. Yes, I’m not going to be successful. Then I can’t make these 10 things. I don’t subscribe to that. Right. I don’t think that’s the way that it has to be.
I think there’s not one formula for each person. I think everybody is their own unique formula. Like I’m learning about being a parent right now. Right? I don’t subscribe to all these things. I love structure, but this exact bedtime, this executive, every child is unique and different. Right? You have to trust that relationship that you know, best what to do for your child.
Guess what you have that same relationship with yourself. You have to trust yourself that you. No, what best to do for yourself? No one knows you like you do. So making 10 commitments at the top of the year at 22 to have a successful year is not for you. How about three? Right. Three conscious, intentional changes that you can make that you can really stick to that are going to make a huge difference.
Right? Let’s just start with that. Yeah. I think for people listening in watching. I think step one that I’m hearing from Bree is this idea of, are you experiencing any of the feelings that she mentioned that are you in sort of a survival mode? Are you experiencing some of the traumatic feelings that you may have not even labeled traumatic, but you know, as you hear us talking, you’re like, oh yeah, that’s me.
I feel that. So I think that’s step one is recognizing it in yourself and it doesn’t just have to be. Like trauma in the sense of ER trauma, but any of the traumatic experiences that we’ve talked about. So one recognize it. And then two, I remember the music advice. I think that’s an important one. We know music is so powerful and then three, this concept of therapy.
I think so many times there’s either like a judgment that happens, whether we pass it on ourselves or other people, this idea that therapy somehow means we don’t have it all together. Guess what you don’t. I don’t. None of us do. I mean, I’ve had this conversation with multiple people, this idea. I definitely think I probably could have used it after my friend died, but the world shut down then with COVID.
So, I mean, it was kind of like this, the timing was really bad there, but how would somebody go about. Finding music therapy. If somebody is resonating with what you’re saying and your approach to therapy, how would somebody even find music therapy in their area? That’s a great question. So our kind of national website music therapy.org, that’s going to take you to the American music therapy association.
Awesome. Just a side note from my producer, make sure we put that in the show notes. So you said music therapy. Dot org. We will make sure you guys, if that’s in the show notes. Absolutely. Yeah. That’s going to connect you so wherever you’re listening from as just a starting point or resource yet, let you know how you can get in touch with zip therapists in your state, whether you are in Florida, I’m in west Palm beach, Florida, whether you are in Florida or not.
And just want to reach out to me and I can connect you with a music therapist or with a program, or just answer any questions. Feel free to contact me. My company’s website is cat PBC, T P B. Dot com and you can email me directly at Bray, B R e@catpb.com. So we’ll measure all of that is in it for sure. I love that.
So we will make sure that those connections, if you like the idea of music therapy and just use it. That type of therapy specifically for you then definitely make this connections and reach out. I love the idea of honing in, on music as therapy. I have to tell a story over the COVID crisis. I was in a patient or so I left the bedside last December.
But before that I was still there for all of the COVID stuff, but I was in a patient’s room and I suddenly heard this music start to play and it sounded very theorial and I was like, okay, is Jesus coming back or what is happening? I’m like looking around, like at that point in the year, anything seriously, I’m like, amen.
But I was seriously, I was so confused. I was like, what is that sound? So I’m kind of focusing on this patient conversation that I’m having. And I step out of the room and there’s this woman playing a harp in the corner of our emergency department. And I could not believe it was so powerful how it just like the entire atmosphere changed.
Like we all just, I remember sitting down at my desk being like, It made me sleepy. I remember saying out loud to the nurses like, wow, this is actually making me really sleepy, but it was really a powerful statement. It makes me wonder why don’t we always have music playing in these like traumatic high stress areas.
We should just have music playing in the background that you had that during COVID because a lot of services removed during that timing still we’re actually, you know what I say? That it might’ve been right before. Cause that’s a great point. And maybe it wasn’t overcast. Well, I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast this morning.
No, that’s a really good point. I don’t know why I’m remembering over that time brain sellout. So listen, it’s totally fine. I probably wasn’t over. COVID the point being though it was one of those things where it just struck me how powerful the music was and just. Absolutely. And so, and that’s amazing. We have a lot of, a lot of people share their stories of having a harvest present on the unit and like to kind of walked into the patient’s room before that as well.
Right. Like for you guys. So we always try to remember that we’re doing music therapy and we’re working one-on-one in the rooms as therapist using music as the. We know that it’s for staff as well. So we do a lot of procedural support. So if you know that a patient really struggles with that insertion or whatever is coming up, they have a lot of anxiety about, we will try to schedule to be present in that moment with them to be a positive redirection.
And I just know that our nurses that worked seven years in hospice care before I worked, I was to say, or oncology, that would be a great. And even recently in my nursing homes, they’ve started doing their COVID testing during the music therapy session. Huh? Interesting. They’re engaged in the music and singing.
They’ll do their test and there’s a lot of positive redirection that takes away from the anxiety. Not only is that uncomfortable, obviously everybody, everyone at this point knows it’s uncomfortable, but if you don’t understand. First of all, you don’t understand why you’re wearing it exactly. Or a mask, what COVID is, and now something is going in your nose, but there’s a lot of fear and anxiety around that, that we’re just expecting people to have the capacity to understand right now, not everybody does.
So anything that we can do to just refocus that, redirect them it’s time can be really valuable. Last thought here. What would you say to parents with kids? We’re talking about kind of the elderly population here, but interestingly, it’s kind of similar then of course, if we look at the other age spectrum with kids, how can parents implement music to help children or just arts to help children or teens?
Through these times as well, because we know that anxiety is through the roof for children and teens, as well as adults and as parents, what can we be doing to use that with our children? This is a really great question. And actually, you’ve got me kind of thinking about this differently than I ever have before in terms of parents.
So I grew up and doing the traditional music classes and wanting to be on stage. And a lot of the stuff like you shared about your daughter and the passion she has. And I I’m so grateful for all of that. And I know that it has helped lead me to where I’m at today, but I think right now, if we, as parents and I even have to remind myself of this, right.
Cause I’m not in therapist, but when I’m home, I’m in mom mode. Now think about the shift of music and art for expression versus. Can we quantify so much of what our kids do as good or bad, right. As good art or bad, or, and not just like we’re critiquing them and we’re being mean parents, but like our kids do it too.
Like, I don’t want to share this piece with you and it’s not very good or I’m not ready to play this piece for you. It’s not very good. So how can we as parents make that shift? Using the arts in our home and we have to do it for ourselves too. Right. Because so many times we’re afraid to bring it to the child because we’re not gonna be successful.
I don’t know how to share this instrument with my child. I don’t play it. I don’t know how to teach my child how to use Kranz. I can’t draw. Well, what if the piano and your Spotify account and your arts and crafts, or whatever exists in your home that represents an artistic. Is just there to be heard to be seen and not to be good or bad.
So I think that’s a good place to start right now. There’s a lot of places. What kids are being evaluated. I’m being evaluated on a completely different criteria than ever before, because we’ve never had two years like we’ve had before, whether it’s socially, academically, whatever it is, all the hurdles they’ve had to come up with, come over at this time.
How can we use these things at home to not be in. Bar to reach necessarily be together. Yeah. Here, it’s not only, you know, empowering their children to use that as expression, but they’re going to find a benefit from it as well. Yeah. I love that. And I would also throw in the thought that I’m wondering too, if there would not be benefit as a parent.
Trying to be intentional about keeping that artistic expression off of technology. Because what I find is that the danger is everything is so technology-based, but then it’s not isolated. It’s like impossible to just simply draw on YouTube, because what happens is there’s a million other videos that come up and before you know it, your kids are clicking through XYZ and it’s still that constant sense of motion and stimulation where I like the idea of implementing the arts and maybe consider.
The importance of keeping it off of technology, like old fashioned pen and paper and the coloring. There was like de-stress coloring books or like, kind of like what you were saying, just using whatever. Maybe it’s just creating percussion out of oatmeal cans, depending on the age of your child. Maybe a 17 year old.
Wouldn’t want to do that, but like something that is off of technology that is tapping into rhythm, it’s tapping into music. It’s tapping into art as expression, not as entertainment or performance. We’ve actually done this with teens of 14 to 18, make a book, go get paint buckets from home Depot or Lowe’s and then we would decorate them the outside of it.
And then we would do drumming on, I would bring kitchen spoons, like wooden kitchen spoons. And so. All ages. I mean, that’s what my job is convincing all ages. This is within us, you know? Okay. So quick question. How are you convincing those ages? What are you saying to them to be like, you need to understand this will actually help you.
You’ve spent the last two years being expected to be an adult. Mm. Being expected to just go with the flow, to stay grounded in a time when absolutely nothing is consistent around you, everything is always changing. It is always changing without your permission. It is always changing without your control.
Yeah. Give yourself this time for the next 30 minutes to be a kid. Hmm. Everybody wants 30 minutes to be a kid. I don’t care if you’re a kid, an older adult, a senior, my seniors. I’m going to go see in a few minutes here up to 100 years old, we all want to connect with that feeling that has been taken from you over the last few years, you have been expected to age very quickly, missed a lot of milestones.
Through this last time, let me give you this back to just be joyful for the next 30 minutes. And at the end of that, I’ll say thing. What do you worry about? Like what time your work shift starts later, or that friend that you haven’t texted back yet, that you have a concern, whether that fight you had with your mom, but they wouldn’t think about that last 30 minutes, such a break.
It was just such a break from that. So just put it in terms no matter who you’re talking to, what age you’re talking. What is something that’s going to be valuable to them and odds are having a break from that is going to be able to most people. Yeah. I love that breather. So many amazing takeaways from this episode.
I cannot wait to share it with everyone. I’ve certainly taken things away as well, actually two oatmeal cans right now that I’m going to save. We’re going to make jobs. Where can people connect with you moving forward? If they want to follow you or learn more from you, where would you send them?
Absolutely. Yes. I mentioned I work with creative arts therapies at the Palm beaches. If we have something specific to music therapy or art therapy, you want to ask me, you can definitely follow at creative arts therapies. PB is our Instagram page for that, but I’m so excited. I know we’re going to get scheduling soon here on it for you to come on my podcast, the mindful mentor that can be found anywhere you listen to your podcasts.
So I so appreciate the opportunity to be here and really look forward to having a conversation with you there as well. Follow me on Instagram at mindful mentor Bree. And again, I just really appreciate this opportunity. Oh, thanks, Barry. I just pray. God’s blessing over your work over your home and your sweet little baby so much.
I appreciate that. Yeah. Take care. Thank you so much for joining us for this episode of the imperfectly empowered podcast. It is my honor to be here with you. I am so grateful for each and every one of you. If you are watching on YouTube, be sure to click. Scribe button below. So you don’t miss a show and leave a comment with your thoughts from today’s episode below.
If you are listening via your preferred podcasting platform, would you help keep us on the air by rating our show and leaving an honest review of your thoughts from today in case you haven’t heard it lately, your story matters and you are loved. This is your host on a former, and I will see you here next time on the imperfectly empowered podcast.

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