Sunday, 16 October 2011

Sounds of Life

Sounds of Life

In his book The Tao of Music, John M. Ortiz writes about how we use music to affect our mood and looks closely at how our mental health is affected by the music we choose to listen to. In one case study he talks about a client called Donna who became depressed; uncharacteristically tired, overeating and loosing self esteem. Ortiz encouraged he to make an ‘entrainment’ mix-tape, one of which reflected the low mood she was feeling. After some initial resistance she agreed and began compiling a series of sad and generally miserable tracks from her record collection. Once that side of the tape was recorded, she then added some more upbeat tracks that reflected the feelings she wanted to recapture on side 2. (Yes, this was an experiment that took place in the 1990’s when TDK 90 min cassette tapes were used daily to re-record and share music between one another – the original way to ‘illegally file-share’!)

Ortiz was interested to find that almost all of the songs Donna chose to put onto her mix-tape had some significant meaning to her and formed a sort of ‘life-soundtrack’. In later sessions together they discussed the meaning of each song and the relevance of the order in which they were compiled. Donna also revealed that she had used the tape on many occasions at home and in the car to affect her mood in a positive way; she felt that she had in some way gained control over her feelings and devised her own way of working through her depression by using music.


Last week I was introduced to the Ortiz text and asked to produce a music ‘life-line’ of my own, which I have just completed. Of all the things I have been asked to do during my 2 years so far studying on the Creative Arts Therapies course, this has to be one of my favourite – I couldn’t wait to get digging in my music collection! I am to share it with my new CATS group tomorrow, so I thought I would post it here for future reference. If you choose to listen to it, I hope you enjoy it - and I look forward to hearing your life story soon too.



Thursday, 6 October 2011


In our very last group session together the CATS 09-11 group revisited the exact same activity that we did 4 months earlier which i blogged about here. I wont go into too much detail as i have written a fair bit about this activity before but i did feel it worth posting the images from the second time round, if for no other reason than to compare them against each other.

Our group as it was on the final day and so many missing faces. Perhaps not attending the very end part of a group is easier than saying goodbye, but i find real value in seeing it through to the end. It was great working with you all, i hope our paths will cross again soon...

Monday, 3 October 2011


Tuckman's 'stages of group development' theory looks at how people communicate with each other when they come together as a group and breaks it down into four stages; norming, storming, forming and performing. He later went on to add 'adjourning and transforming' to the sequence, referring to the breaking up and moving on of the group - the time when the group comes to an end.

Our Creative Arts Therapies Studies group had our final session together in July after 2 years of study and to make the end of our time together we revisited a few activities that we have done before which could possibly be referred to as 'transforming'. A bit more collaborative free-drawing...