While working with a variety of mental health groups I saw that it was hard for group members to break away from their "labels" - from names they had been called, for the negative things that people have said about them. It was really hard for them to think about positive labels for themselves or to identify positive good qualities that they had. For example: creative, kind, friendly, intelligent, helpful, funny. Labels can take away much of a persons self esteem and self confidence.
Music Therapy Intervention
I decided to develop a few interventions that dealt with the issue of labels and self esteem and to encourage group members to see the positive qualities in each other as well as themselves with the goal of increasing self confidence, self esteem, and peer relations while allowing creativity and a space for their voice to be heard. The intervention I am going to share today is a song activity called "i am not a Label" and is suitable for adult and adolescent mental health groups, addiction groups and many similar groups where a recovery model may be used.
Each person is given a copy of the lyrics to the song after we discuss the concept of labels.
I am not a label , Lyrics
I look in the mirror
I know who I see
It's not who you want me to be
But who I am in me.
I am not ______________________________
But I am _____________________________
I wish I was _________________________
Maybe I can maybe I will.
For I am not a label
I am just me
I am not a label
And I know who I can be.
Each individual is given a moment to think and fill in the blanks with a label they may have been given and who they feel they really are or would like to be. Those who feel comfortable can share this with the group and then we sing the song with their lyrics. What I have discovered is that many find it difficult to fill in the second line with something positive about themselves so if this is the case I encourage others to help them by telling them something they like about that person. Often once we sing the song we can also encourage others to comment on an individuals positive strengths to reinforce self esteem and confidence.
It is important that a solid therapeutic relationship is established before this intervention is used as there needs to be a great deal of trust in you as the therapist and the other group members before this can work out and also be beneficial.
If anyone would like an MP3 recording of the song along with lead sheet and chords send me an email at Kristen.MT@live.co.uk and I will get them to you.