Words are powerful, whether they are spoken aloud or in the form of thoughts. What someone says can give us a glimpse into how they are feeling - about themselves, their environment, and their circumstances. And how we assess and provide treatment to clients is affected greatly by what they tell us.
As a counselor, I never underestimate the power of what we say and its connection to our thoughts and feelings. I’ve been known to discuss, at length, in both individual and group sessions, the powerful effect words can have on us. And how changing the words we use can have a profound impact.
It’s no surprise, then, how important I think lyrics, or words, are in music. Think about some of your favorite songs and their lyrics. Why are they your favorites? Do they take you back in time, bring up memories, stir up strong emotions (good or bad)? Is the story told yours or one you can identify with?
In my songwriting therapy work, I like to play around a lot with lyrics. I ask people what their favorite songs are. Then, we look at the lyrics together and start picking out phrases and words that they really identify with (while also listening to the song if possible). I might ask them what feelings are conveyed in the lyrics and what feelings they have reading and/or listening to the lyrics. Or what they think the singer is feeling . This can give me a good idea of where their thoughts are. I remember a session I had with a teenage girl not too long ago where we did this activity and she immediately began crying, which led to a great discussion about her family and self esteem issues.
Thoughts are powerful. If you say them out loud, they become even more powerful. And if you sing them, they are even more powerful. So, just think of lyrics as your most powerful thoughts set to music. In part 2, I will give more examples of how I use lyrics in my work.
Krylyn Peters is a counselor and singer/songwriter who uses the power of music and sound for healing. www.krylyn.com