"I'm Like a Bird" by Nelly Furtado
"Free Bird" by Lynyrd Skynyrd
"I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly
Any patient preferred, familiar song that includes themes or symbolism of flying and/or being free.
Establish rules and boundaries in group - Encourage group members to only speak about their own self, own situation, and their own feelings. Commenting on their peer's statements, or offering advise to peers is not allowed in group. If poorly facilitated, these situations can be therapeutically and/or psychologically harmful; especially if the group is not closely supervised or comments re-directed by the therapist.
Sing one or more of the songs listed above for the individual or group. Group members/ individual can be given lyric sheets to sing along or follow along during the music. Encourage participants to underline words or parts of the song(s) that speak to them, or that they like.
Begin the lyric analysis with open ended questions such as: "What is this song about?" "What do these songs have in common with each other?" "What does this song mean to you today?" For children ask simple questions such as: "What do birds do?" "How do birds fly?" "Can a bird fly if he/she is inside a cage?" "Let's pretend to use wings to fly!" "What might it feel like to be able to fly like a bird?"
Move discussion to the direction of: "What does it mean to be free?" "Are there any lines in the songs that stood out to you?" Move discussion to the direction of: "What does it feel like to be free?" "How would your life be different if you felt more free?" "Is there an area in your life that you need more freedom?" (Simplify questions for children: "Is it better to be a bird in a cage or to be able to fly?")
Move discussion toward goal setting: "Is there anything good about being free?" "Is there anything that is caging you?" Is there anything that is keeping you from feeling free?" "What do you need to do in order to be free?" "What do you need to do in order to do that?" Explore the thoughts and feelings of the group or individual. Encourage participants to write down their feelings or underline parts of the song that are meaningful to them.
If appropriate for future sessions, use lyric substitution for song, "I Believe I Can Fly," to express the goals discussed in the previous session. Example: "I believe I can ____." (New lyrics can focus on the individual's recovery goals and personal goals.)
Collaborating with an Art Therapist:Edit
Collaborate with an Art Therapist to add depth to the session experience. Use art to express: "If you were a bird, what would you look like?" "What does it look like to feel like a caged bird?" What does it look like to feel like a free bird?" "What does it look like for you to feel free? To be yourself? To recover? To forgive? To be forgiven? To try new things? Free from abuse?" (Modify questions based on patient/group needs and goals.)
Ashley Hall, MT-BC, NICU MT