Acoustic youth is a group therapy modality that combines music and mentoring, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness to empower teens.
Why Music, song-writing and mentoring?
Music has long been recognized as an effective form of therapy that provides an outlet for emotions. It has been used in treating pain, reducing stress, improving mood states, decreasing anxiety, and improving socialization. Song-writing, in particular, is a useful vehicle for self-expression and overcoming challenges. For example, teens may choose to address bullying, academic pressures, insecurity, bereavement, painful relationships, family difficulties or abuse through their songs. Using musical mentors to speak to the group helps promote the power of using musical expression to cope with negative affective states. Additionally, collaborating during the song writing process encourages the sharing of ideas and the articulation of thoughts and feelings-- something that is essential when attempting to work through difficult and painful experiences. Mentors are instrumental in inspiring teens to use their creativity as an effective outlet for processing uncomfortable emotions and experiences.
Why Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has been proven to be effective in treating a variety of mental health problems, including anxiety and depression. It focuses on examining the connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The goal is to replace negative thinking with healthier thoughts. As teens learn these skills they feel happier and behave more appropriately.
Mindfulness means living in the moment and developing a greater awareness of your thoughts, feelings, body sensations and the surrounding environment. Scientific research has proven mindfulness to be effective in improving a person's physical and mental health. Acoustic Youth provides opportunities to practice mindfulness through Christine Stevens' drumming program, progressive muscle relaxation, deep breathing, meditation, and visual imagery.
Why Group Therapy?
Group therapy improves mental health in teens by increasing social skills, social support and peer connection. Teenagers benefit from group therapy because it helps them see that they are not alone, and that their peers are grappling with similar challenges. Group can also serve as a great place for teens to gain insight about themselves, as they receive feedback from others. When a safe environment is provided, teens may be able to hear constructive criticism from their peers and begin applying this newfound knowledge into future interactions with others. Acoustic Youth applies group therapy by creating a safe environment where teens can share and feel understood and valued.