Finding Your OK
In our #30DaysofGratitude series, we are using acts of gratitude and self-care to practice awareness and respect of our emotions. Part of our job as music therapists is to help our clients understand, appropriately express, and regulate their emotions. We have the fun job of doing this through song and active music making. Some of the tools we use in sessions to work on emotional processing and emotional expression are song analysis and songwriting. These are great tools anyone can use to help clients process through their emotions or even more appropriately express your own feelings and emotions.
Emotional Expression - "I'm OK"
Today we are going to explore processing these emotional expression and regulation skills through the song, "Be OK". People often use the word “OK” to describe how they are feeling. However, when we think about the word “OK”, it could mean something different for everyone. This is an intervention I use to explore the concept of feeling "OK" with the song “Be OK” by Ingrid Michaelson. Using song analysis and original songwriting, clients will have the opportunity to define their "OK," explore emotional expression strategies, and practice tools for emotional regulation.
"Be OK" Song Analysis
Pass out the lyrics to Ingrid Michaelson's "Be Ok" and introduce the concept of "OK" to your group (or client).
Discuss what "OK" means to each group member, or the individual client. You could ask: "How do you define ok?" "What does it mean to be ok?" "What other feelings might you have when you tell others you are 'OK'?"
Listen to Ingrid Michaelson's "Be OK" or play the song live for your clients, encouraging them to sing-a-long.
Engage in a lyric analysis of the song. You can ask your group, or client: "What stands out to you in this song?" "What does this song mean to you?" "Are there specific lyrics you can relate to?" "How does the song define 'OK'?"
Use the song as a springboard for group discussion, emotional expression, and as an opportunity for clients to process through their emotions and their "OK."
*It is the job of the therapist to help clients process through their emotions. Some clients may demonstrate strong understanding and interpretation of their emotions and feelings, when analyzing this song. Others may need more support. Use your discretion and knowledge base when leading this intervention.
"Be OK" Songwriting
After engaging in group discussion, it is the perfect time to write your own version of "Be OK". Through this songwriting activity, the goal is to help you/your clients define what "OK" means to you/them, and also explore other emotions you/they are currently feeling or want to feel.
Pass out lyric re-write sheets to "Be OK"
Fill-in-the-blanks with original feelings and emotions. You, or your client, may fill in the same word for each blank or fill in a different word. This depends on how you want to use the song - to express an emotional state you are in, an emotional state you want to get to, or simply defining emotional states people might experience.
Sing, play, and share your new version of the song!
Take time to discuss and reflect on how you/your client feels after expressing these emotions.
*Again, use your discretion on how deep to dive into this emotional expression and processing experience.
This is an activity that can be used for children, adolescents, or adults across a variety of settings. We can't wait to see how you use this analysis and songwriting intervention!
If you're not already, join us in our 30 Days of Gratitude by