Episode 79 The Healing Power Of Music Therapy: Interview with Joyu Lee

Sep 7, 2022

Does music have the power to impact your mental and physical health? Can you use music and sound to reach beyond your traditional therapy?

MEET Joyu Lee

Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery, Narrative Therapist MM, NMT, MT-BC Joyu Lee (she/her), is the owner of Music and Your Mind, LLC, and a founding member of Vida Strings. She is a Senior Therapist at UNC Health in Chapel Hill, NC, and primarily works with teens and young adults with eating disorders, anxiety and depression, and crisis intervention. She is also a music therapist at Pasadenavilla Outpatient treatment center and provides re-educative, insight-building music psychotherapy sessions for groups and individuals on a daily basis. 

Joyu is a passionate and experienced therapist with 20+ years of combined international experience in creative/expressive arts therapy, cello performance, music education, and arts administration. She is trained in the Bonny Method Guided Imagery and Music (GIM- Music Psychotherapy) and is a Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery. Joyu was mentored by Dr. Dag Körlin as an independent “Music Breathing” practitioner and completed the Narrative Therapy Certification through Narrative Therapy Initiative (NTI) in May 2022.

Since 2018, she has facilitated “Music Care”, and trauma-informed workshops at the National Bornoff Workshop at the University of Kansas, NC State University, Meredith College, Durham Crisis Response Center, UNC Health, Queens University, and Current Wellness. Joyu has presented in SER-AMTA regional conferences in 2021 and 2022 and was the keynote speaker presenting on “Radical Listening” in 2022. Joyu was the recipient of the 2022 Innovation Award at the Rehabilitation Department of UNC Health, and the recipient of the 2021 “Linda Keiser Mardis Education” research grant. She is the primary investigator for the ongoing Music Breathing research at the UNC Center of Excellence for eating disorders inpatient unit (2021-2022). Joyu has developed and presented the new music program “Finding Meaning” at the International Association for Music and Imagery conference in Philadelphia, USA, in 2021, and will be presenting at the European Association for Music and Imagery in Denmark, in September 2022.

Joyu completed her Music Therapy degree from Appalachian State University (Boone, NC) and has been a Board-Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) since 2014. She received a BM in Cello Performance from the National Taiwan Normal University, and a MM in Cello Performance from the Cleveland Institute of Music (Cleveland, OH).

Find out more at Music And Your Mind and connect with Joyu on Instagram.


  • What are the healing benefits of music therapy? 4:12
  • How to use mindfulness with music 10:32 
  • Using music therapy when dealing with depression 20:33
  • Guided imagery in music therapy 26:30

What Are The Healing Benefits Of Music Therapy?

  • What is music therapy?
  • How do you as an individual interact with music in your everyday life
  • How to incorporate music into your daily routine
  • How to use music and the breath for healing benefits

How To Use Mindfulness With Music 

  • Focusing on the elements of the music
  • How to monitor your headspace
  • Being intentional when listening to music
  • How to use music therapy with trauma

 Using Music Therapy When Dealing With Depression

  • Learning to reconnect with music when dealing with depression
  • Using a minimalistic approach with music therapy and depression
  • Integrating other creative outlets along with music therapy
  • Learning to invite your clients into the process of music therapy

Guided Imagery In Music Therapy

  • What is guided imagery?
  • How to use guided imagery in one on one client sessions
  • Understanding the importance of music selection in this practice
  • Guided imagery walk-through with a cello performance

 Connect With Me

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Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Find out more at Music And Your Mind and connect with Joyu on Instagram.


Chris McDonald: Welcome to the holistic counseling podcast, where you discover diverse wellness modalities, advice on growing your integrative practice and grow confidence in being your unique self. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. I'm so glad you're here for the journey.

Chris McDonald: Do you give so much to others that you're left feeling drained? Is it hard for you to engage in consistent self care practices? The past couple years have been heavy for us all, and many of us are feeling stretched thin. I am offering you an hour long webinar on September 28th from noon to 1:00 PM eastern ,called holistic self-care boundaries for therapists. This webinar you'll gain tools on how to set emotional boundaries, physical. And energetic boundaries. You'll learn some invaluable hands on skills to help fill yourself up and stay grounded so that you can boost your overall wellness. So you can show up as your best self for your clients.

Ready to put yourself first, go to holistic counseling podcast.com/holistic-webinars/looking forward to seeing you there.

Welcome to today's episode of the holistic counseling podcast. I'm your host, Chris McDonald. I was fortunate enough to go to a local therapist, self care workshop recently. And I got to listen to today's guest. Talk about the power of music therapy and she played the cello for us. Oh, I gotta tell you it was so relaxing.

I felt so good coming out of there. Joy you, Lee is here today to talk to you about the healing power of music therapy. She is owner of music in your mind. And as founding member of Vita strings, she is a senior therapist at UNC health in chapel hill, North Carolina, and primarily works with teens and young adults with eating disorders, anxiety, and depression, and crisis intervention.

She is also a music therapist at Pasadena Villa outpatient treatment center and provides reeducated insight, building music, psychotherapy sessions. Ooh, that's a mouthful joy for groups and individuals on a daily basis. Sounds like a lot involved. So Jo's passionate, experienced therapist with 20 years of combined international experiences in creative, expressive arts therapy, cello performance, music, education, and arts administration.

She is trained in the Bonnie method, guided imagery and music, and is a fellow of the association for music and imagery. A fun fact about her is she is fundraising for a NAMI New York city for the New York marathon. This November, this will be her 14th full marathon in the past eight years. Welcome to the podcast Jo U.

Joyu Lee: Thank you so much, Chris. I am delighted to be here today.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. And I was so impressed with your bio. You have so many different things going on and it's like, your reach is so, so strong and so big. I love it. Thank you. Thank you. That's excellent. Can you share more about yourself and your work with my listeners?

Joyu Lee: Yeah, absolutely. Um, hello everybody. I'm Jo U and actually, my name is spelled J O Y U. So it's pronounced either Jo U or Jo U it's directly translated by. Oh, so both. Okay. Yeah. So both and I truly respond to both and sometimes people are really concerned about how do you actually pronounce your name?

Yeah. I was glad I got it right. . So, yeah. And, um, I am a, a music therapist, a board certified music therapist. And like Chris mentioned, I am trained in the body method of, um, guided imagery and music, which is a form of music cycle therapy. And that really impacts almost every aspect of my daily practice, whether it is doing individual sessions, group work.

Or consulting with other clinicians and also in my, um, performance with cello and doing a lot programming. This music psychotherapy practice is deeply rooted and not just mindfulness, but also building more awareness of yourself. And the main focus is how to open up all of our senses to embrace. And engaged music in multiple levels, whether it is listening, you know, just, um, as like a supportive way of using music or truly preparing yourself, going into music and going to different states of consciousness and using your imagination and, um, noticing some of your, your sensations.

And how does that work with your day to day events or things that you are holding in? I am absolutely a, a you're passionate, I guess that yes. And we call it, you know, the GIM. I am definitely a GIM therapist through theory and uh, oh, so I practice music breathing. So that's a nice and trying to use cell as much as possible in my session.

So that's kind of my work in a nutshell. Wow. That's

Chris McDonald: a lot. Yeah, for sure. But it sounds really holistic. Yes. Yes. Which is perfect for this podcast. So it covers the whole person. So what have you found to be the most healing benefits of using music

Joyu Lee: therapy? So I talked to a lot about talked to people a lot about music on a daily basis and from all the conversations, what I have gathered.

And Chris, um, I would be really interested in your experience too, is most people. If not close to a hundred percent appreciates music, listens to music or uses music in some sort of shape and form. So when I am, you know, doing my introduction about what music therapy is, or just really doing assessment or, or just opening up this interaction, it's like, what kind of music do you like and how are you using music in your life already as something that I am always curious about, because a lot of times people might feel like, oh, I don't really.

Play a music instrument. I'm not creative person. You know, I have clients who are very, very concrete, like, you know, they're really great with numbers and when they open up creativity or at the arts, they get really anxious. It's like, do you, this may not be for me. And I'm, I really open it up in a way that, um, your music says a lot about what speaks to you or what makes you feel something that you may not have words for.

And so starting from there. Broadening how you can use music by just adding a couple different tips and tricks here and there to make your, your routine or making certain events or activities a little bit more meaningful or a little bit more highlighting. There's so much we can do. With music without, you know, spending a lot of money without, so you

Chris McDonald: don't have to a whole lot of time play an instrument to get the benefits.


Joyu Lee: and especially if that's something you would like to do, I'm always excited and encouraging people to try things out because then you have like another layer of interaction, but truly just. Paying attention to what music you're already listening to, or you're enjoying. There are so much more that you can, um, expand upon.

And you

Chris McDonald: mentioned briefly about music and breath. Yes. So tell me more about that. How do you use music with breathing? So

Joyu Lee: the music breathing certification that I had is adaptive form of the music psychotherapy, but you don't actually have to go through. Like the entire series, um, when I'm working with clients or working with other clinicians, a really, really easy way to even just.

Approach just from a mindfulness standpoint is thinking about the temple and also the volume of your own breath. So sometimes it's like, okay, right now I might feel, let's say I feel tired. So I'm just gonna take a moment. It's like, Hmm. How am I breathing? So just noticing like that, that temple, that you are taking the breath in.

Also, when you talk about breath, like the, the increasing of volume, just noticing where your breath is, starting, where your breath is moving towards and also vice, um, on the other. Hand of things is like, when you're breathing out really noticing, you know, if there's like a sense of direction, is there like a shortness of breath?

Is it like, you really are trying to like slow things down. So you're, you're inviting yourself to take a slower breath out. So when we focus on just temple and volume of things, You can actually discover quite a bit of your own breath, even just doing that without. So just noticing first, just noticing.

Yeah. But the elements of the, the music is something I think a lot of people are very surprised about is whoa. Okay. If you pair it to like, thinking of music is like, What do you mean by pacing or even like is a rhythmic or some people are like, you know, immediately associating to different artists or different instruments.

So I have, um, truly like clinicians will tell me that. Yeah. Now that you mentioned it, it almost feels like it's like one of those brass instruments that I don't know what the name is. They're thinking about French horn. So it's like, oh yeah. There's like, almost like this. Um, Big bell bottom that when my breath is releasing and when I feel really anxious, it's almost like those like short notes, sad.

Like, it sounds like the trumpet or, and you know, or plucking of strings. So bringing those music elements in it can. Yeah, that's really cool.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. Yeah. That's a good way to, to think of it too. And is it, if you're listening to music, just tuning in to how your breath might change as you're listening?

Joyu Lee: I think there's.

Truly a couple different ways to approach this. Mm-hmm so for instance, if we want to bring music into this, it could be, you know, during like a middle of song that you're just listening to, you might be driving and you're just like, oh yeah, this song like brings, you know, you notice that you're you're.

You're more energized and you might not want to really have like, energized, like breathing while you are trying to relax. So you might choose something that you already noticed that immediately your body response is like, oh, okay. Your shoulders may not be that tense. Or your thoughts may not be going, you know, a hundred miles an hour.

Like your, your to-do list at 20 things that you have to take care of. So it could, it could really just be you choose something that, you know, will slow you down. And then just like find a part of the music. It could be, you know, if there's like an underlying, like baseline, it could be a melody find like a starting point for you to just like zoom in and like, see how your, your breath is moving.

And you might notice that, Hmm, this music isn't really supportive. So you might even. You know, test some couple different things and see what actually helps you breathe a little smoother is one way to do it. And sometimes, um, I would suggest clients to, you know, start focusing on your breath first and then.

Play a piece of music. So you're not necessarily matching the music the entire time, but you're preparing yourself going into that music listening experience. And that's why I do a lot with cello is tuning in with your breath first and then listening to music and see what's different than just like, oh, I'm just gonna listen to music and, and see how my breath is.

It can be so

Chris McDonald: almost embodies music more. Yes. Awesome. So how do you use mindfulness then with

Joyu Lee: music? Um, couple things I, I have mentioned for instance, like really starting with the elements and even that's self-assessment I have like a sheet that I often tell people that this is not a music theory class because it lists, you know, temple and all the.

Volume and all the differences and like melody harmony and, um, instrumentation. And so people can get like, whoa, this is a lab information. So a lot of times I might just invite people to check in with one, maybe three things, tops, the temple assessment, and also the volume assessment, your interstate of being, and also noticing that maybe.

Your head space, or maybe noticing that sometimes like when we're moving a lot, but we might feel like truly like a slower temple inside, but our outer motions are like fast paced. So even just doing a quick assessment of, okay. There's that. And then if we talk about harmony, Do you feel that there are some things that feel clashing or creating some sort of tension while you are in your, um, you know, in the middle of the check-in and sometimes it could be like, okay, this is where I am.

And you know that, and, and this is sometimes, um, I talk to people about music is almost like your emotional saving. You're like walking into a room and you notice that once you put on the song, then it's higher and interior design changes like, you know, like the paint, the atmosphere, um, the temperature.

The comfort items. And so maybe before walking into that room, metaphorically speaking, like before you put on a song, you feel like, oh, like North Carolina, summers, so hot, humid, heavy, like , you know, like you can't catch your breath because you're running errands, but then you put on, maybe let's say one of your favorite songs.

You just like, love this artist and you can listen to the song on repeat, Hey, going. Even if you still feel like, yeah, I'm coming from like this really, this busy frazzle, this, but then you put on the music and it's almost like maybe walking into a place that just like you can chill and you could breathe a little easier.

And that's one way. I, I feel that when you're paying attention to what your music do to you, and you can intentionally either get validation from your music or change your mood, where it's like an on and off switch that you can just like check in and do something a little bit different for yourself, because let the music take care of you, especially when the times when you feel.

I can't really do that for myself now. So I always call this almost like an intentional distraction, because you're really purposeful going into these listening experiences. That's something I do

Chris McDonald: recommend. Yeah. And I said, I know you said let the music take care of you. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. Cause I feel like it touches me like deep in my brain.

Sometimes certain songs. Kinds of music, just like, and if you close your eyes, I feel like that helps me with sensory too, just to tune in more the inner world. Cause I think we have so many distractions when our eyes are open and, and just trying that, that piece, if you're, if you feel safe doing that.

Cause I know it with trauma, sometimes people don't like to close their eyes,

Joyu Lee: but absolutely,

Chris McDonald: absolutely. But I like that in the intentionality of that to really be purposeful and not just be like, okay, I'm putting on my song.

Joyu Lee: yeah, yeah, absolutely. Oh, that makes sense. And Chris, I really appreciate, like you brought out, you know, especially with trauma and how music can be.

So activating either it's like too much activation like that arousal stick, or maybe parts of it feels like, Hmm. That blocking that numbing. Disconnection. And so how to bring music into these spaces sometimes take some preparation too. And so let's say that we don't really have music available in this moment.

I often tell people that, you know, Us as human beings, we are a musical instruments in so many different levels and grounding. There's so much that we can do not necessarily with just our voice, but that sense of connection to yourself of maybe not doing it in front of other people, but kind of like the comfort of your own space, or I know a therapist.

Love using this tech thing about like singing your negative thoughts and why that could be a way to create some distance. I oftentimes just tell people to start with, you know, almost like a buzzing or humming, and really just like, feel this vibration around your mouth, around your throat, you know, bringing it to polyvagal lenses and how yes, the vagus nurse is truly.

So connected to music therapy or some of the therapeutic skills that we use, because really thinking about vibrations and sensations. And if you think of yourself or imagine yourself, As a musical instrument of some sort, um, whatever the imagery that comes to mind and also really carefully and mindfully gently assessing that when you are fine tuning your own expressions and whether it is like doing a little bit deeper belly breathing, but also like noticing that when you are humming, Even with your mouth closed, like the Hmm, or the buzzing, or even just like really breathing out the, and I think about like vocal warmups, like when you're doing duh like that up and the down and the flow.

And when you are using your breath and bringing it back to yourself and also noticing that this could be really vulnerable. It could also be really delightful for some people there. They will tell me that I don't sing. Yeah. I really do not wanna sing in front of other people and really encouraging them that this is just really about using your voice and getting to know your voice.

So think of it as almost like a warm up or being in touch with your own voice. Physically and metaphorically speaking. So these are some things that went without, you know, your phone, your, you know, having your listening devices, something that sometimes I, I, I suggest people that, you know, if you're taking a moment in the bathroom, even really just like making like a, a SI sound, but think about it as is like, oh, see, there's a sense of direction you're going down.

The volume is increasing. Like, almost like you're observing your own ways of. Playing around with these elements and being curious about that makes it a little less awkward.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. Cause I think that you're right. That a lot of clients I've been real careful with doing any chanting yes. Out loud meditate.

Cause I think, yeah, people aren't used to it. I started to think about why and I was like, people don't do this a lot, so this could be. Very uncomfortable. And like you heard a lot of times they aren't hearing their own voice and, and it just got me thinking metaphorically, like you said, maybe it's people that don't speak up enough yeah.

To know their voice, which is so deep too, to really think about that, that how powerful for them to be able to hear their own voice, but in a positive way. Yeah. Yeah. Whether that's singing something or speaking something and, and I have a breath that I teach too. Be breath where you inhale exhale and just, um, allow yourself to hum.

Yeah. And that stimulates the vagus nerve, like you said, too. And that helps with the parasympathetic activation. So that calms the nervousness. So yeah, this is all connected.

Joyu Lee: Yeah. No, I love it. Sometimes. Just thinking about, you know, that visual of the vagus nerves, almost like, like the tree roots and.

Because, you know, as a musician, we use so much of our hands and sometimes I make a joke about it as like jazz hands, like even just moving your fingers, playing pretend piano and the air. We don't need actual instruments there. That's true. A lot of times it's also like, again with a discomfort of like, I'm not a creative person.

I don't play insurance. I was like, this is really exploring this kind of like vibration for yourself too. Yeah. True. And, and when we feel, you know, like even at music, if things feel tense or more restricted or a little bit more closed off, where do you notice that in your body too? And go, if that's like our starting point there's twists and turns, how can we like.

Play around with some ways for us to mindfully open up. And then if it's like, okay, it, it's, it's really engaging that sense of like, this is a little bit uncomfortable, but we're expanding a little bit more ways for us to express ourselves. And, um, a lot of times it's, it's really calming back to expression.

How can. Who you express yourself in, in a way that makes sense to you that matters to you. That's not just verbal language. So much of the, the numb verbal awareness and choosing our own form of expression is definitely very empowering. And later on, of course, when you connect it to, let's say that people want to explore just more and more and end up you.

They write poetry and then, or write things and then turn it into like little phrases for songs or later on, um, connected with other creative elements. Um, there's a lot of possibilities, but that first step is always, how can I safely express myself? And I think music is really like a more non-threatening I wouldn't say it's completely like non-threatening because that's

Chris McDonald: universal too.


Joyu Lee: it? Yeah. And there's some sort of music that could speak to somebody in some way somehow.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. And what's your experience with, um, people who are depressed and is there a recommendation for certain kinds of music or does that matter?

Joyu Lee: So this is definitely like a case by case. However, sometimes especially clients or people that are experiencing really, really severe depression and symptoms and all that.

Yeah. Will tell me. Either one of the things, and I have several clients that have like notices and was really alarming to them in some ways that they used to let's say, enjoy music quite a bit. Or they used to do something more creative. And because of depression, it's almost like this major fallout with music.

And then there's like some sort of confusion and guilt and shame or all the whole nine yards. It's like, well, I don't know, like music is just not interesting anymore. And so in some ways, having somebody. To be part of that reconnection is really helpful because when people are feeling really depressed, that isolation or that sense of disconnection is so present that let's say that even saying these things out loud could be really difficult in using music in a way let's say that's not necessarily that.

Were immediately using like music that they used to really enjoy, because that could be a little bit too stimulating. I oftentimes would bring in something that's very neutral, for instance, instrumental music. So it's not necessarily like an artist or a genre, so there are some classical music or some more like minimalism or, um, postmodern type of like instrumentals that, uh, you know, like I kind of like bring.

Temples or instrumentation that is not that complicated. And I would check in with the client and see that, Hey, is this music too loud, too fast? And depending on what they usually see. So I have a couple go to music that works pretty well for connection. And then do some sort of, um, mindfulness practice do sensor our expression, do storytelling in a way that just starting somewhere for them to start activating like those senses.

And sometimes it's, it's some, um, I, I do a really modify like progressive muscle relaxation, or even just like some gentle stretching for them to kind of like come back to their bodies in some ways it's like, We're using music as like this container that hopefully is very neutral right now and inviting them to just take part of us some way somehow I, and so this is one example.

Another example could be, clients are like, Whoa. I'm just listening to sad music all the time. Yeah, I

Chris McDonald: have, I get that too. I, on my card

Joyu Lee: oh, yes. So many of my teens are just like, I could just like listen to this music all day long and I'm, I feel like it's like a pity party. What usually why I approach is like really validate that too is just like, let's really look at this in a way.

Just being curious. How, what is the music like, why, why does it connect with you and. Continuously. And, and my teenagers often give me like one word answers or like, or a grunt like here and there. So it's also really just like being curious of, okay, this music connects to you, this 10 songs that you could listen on.

Repeat, it's almost like, again, coming back to that metaphor, being in the room. Right. Now this interior design of your room is not very helpful to you. I love that but there, there might be like one or two comfort items in this room that you're just like, you're just holding onto that you can sleep forever, but there's something that you're telling me that.

You kinda wanna switch things up a little bit because it's not really helping you. You want something you're not, you may not even be sure of what and that's okay. But that's where we can kind of explore a little bit of other possibilities. And so I might use, you know, their music as a foundation and branch out, and we might just do a little bit different listening.

And sometimes I, I may get into a mindfulness game, something called like emotional mapping that I might take five completely different songs and just play maybe a minute of each. And depending on you know, how the client's energy is or how their focus are and just invite them. To almost like a music critic, make it, like, make it into truly like observing, paying attention.

What do you notice about the music? What comes to your mind? Even if it's just like a one word sentence. I have clients that will write, they don't like Taylor swift and I play, you know, August, which is a song I really love and she just wrote. Hmm. And so then I'm like, is it Hmm. Or is it Hmm. And you know, like really explore that and.

Even if they're so really, you know, again, in that room, that's really dark, really unhelpful. And they're holding onto, you know, their waiting weighted blankets, but it's like, there's a splash of something that might bring them. Out of their own head space and into something else that is activating all those other senses that they are just so disengaged that they can't really like get themselves to pay attention.

So I think music is constantly like calling them to do something. Absolutely. And if they don't like it, they'll tell me, they'll be like, Hmm. This is really not doing anything for us. So then that's true. We try something else and, and see if again, could it, it could be a mood changer. It could be something for them to be, to invite them for participation.

I think. Engagement is always something I'm looking for. I love,

Chris McDonald: I love the invitation too, cuz that's the same with yoga. We invite people to engage, but if something doesn't feel right, then we move on to something else and yeah. Really keeping that trauma focused too. Now, how do you use, um, guided imagery?


Joyu Lee: So for the official that imagery of music be official. The it's like one on one, uh, sessions. Um, and it can be used in group work too, but I'm just gonna give you like, kind of like the elevator pitch of, um, these one on one sessions. So if anybody is really interested in learning more about Tiam, um, the body method, please feel free to check out the association for music and imagery, official website.

You could just type in like Bonnie method, guy, imagery and music, and. We have a, a north America, uh, it's an international practice, like a website here, but then we also have a European website and the Australian website that has a lot of short YouTube clips that you could, you could, um, watch and learn more about.

But initially when, um, Dr. Bonnie designed this it's really meant for really going into a more focused state of. Be. So let's say, you know, when we talk about altered states, when you are, when you do yoga, when you're doing meditation, when you are doing long distance driving that stay between awake and dreaming.

So really, um, preparing yourself to this music journey that with a guide support. So me as a therapist, I would be. This person that is holding space, but also witnessing the client's journey. And we are holding the conversations throughout these like specific music programs that are designed to activate your imagination and different sensory responses.

And so it's really using, um, these creative forces and body awareness. Um, what music is like doing to you or you are experiencing, and then noticing what are those like, what that information could be and how does that connect with, let's say some of, um, your day to day experiences or some of the issues that you're bringing into therapy.

So that's. That's not a very short answer. That's okay. But ,

Chris McDonald: that sounds like there's a lot, a lot to it,

Joyu Lee: huh? Yeah. So now I have my notes. Let me rephrase that in a more concise way. Sure. It is music centered. It is about consciousness. Expanding and it's transformational. And so all of the therapists are trained in the body method.

Currently the original, like the most traditional programs are all classical music, but there are new programs that are constantly being developed and tested that utilize, um, and being very aware of cultural references and different music and different countries and how that could be more helpful.

Personal, um, person-centered experiences, but the, this was developed in the, in the seventies. It's chosen very specifically and analyzed every which way of classical music sequences that will stimulate journeys of imagination. And so when we talk about imagery, it's really not just, you know, like when you watch Fantasia, um, like the Disney movie and Mickey mouse is like trying to be the source of apprentice, but it's similar to that idea in a way that when you listen to music, some people might be really like visually exploring things.

Some people might be more like kinesthetic. Some people might activate like these like time travel, like bringing you in different. Time and space and experiences, which is also why this form of therapy is really, really effective for trauma, because there's a lot of possibilities of reauthorizing stories.

and exploring stories and exploring different sensations in the safe container of music. So music selections are very, very important in this way, because it's about integrating the different mental, emotional, physical, spiritual aspects of

Chris McDonald: wellbeing. So could you play some cello for our listeners and it is there, is there anything that you want them to pay attention to as you play for a few minutes?

Joyu Lee: I think the selections that I am gonna share with y'all today, a lot of people find it deeply connected to nature. Any sort of like major sceneries. So just give yourself a moment to settle with the music. Even if your, you know, head space is really busy or maybe you are still, it is hard to relax or focus at the moment and just let yourself be fully here and giving space.

Of what's with you now, and also know that even if we are judging and criticizing ourselves, the music is gonna invite you again. And again, to just take a moment to, to take care of

Chris McDonald: you. Absolutely. So I know you gotta take a moment to set up, so

Joyu Lee: go ahead. . Thank you, Chris.

-: Um,

Chris McDonald: That was lovely. I wanna clap on air. so good. That felt so, so just calming and a little uplifting too. I hope listeners as well are able to feel something with that and be able to follow your breath. Just be present with whatever sensations come up and just being a part of it. So what would you say to therapists that might wanna use some music in their therapy sessions?

Is there anything they can do? That would be a simple strategy. I

Joyu Lee: think of course there are always like some recommendations and, um, and people are truly like interested in some recommendations. I would be more than happy to, to make some suggestions, but I think really paying attention to, first of all, what you say that you feel connected to and always see if there's like.

A possible instrumental version of it. And the reason why I recommend instrumental is it's a little bit more neutral and there are a lot of like different artistic interpretations out there. And really also assessing, let's say that if mindfulness, um, people would ask me, do I always have to use slow music?

I really encourage you to have like couple different selections that, you know, whether it's like a little bit more izing, um, maybe a little bit more reflective, like slowing things down and also check in with your clients to see, like, what did they, what did the music do for them? And. Sometimes, you know, with the same song I might get like pretty consistent feedback, but there might be like one or two clients it's like, it really didn't do much for me.

And that could also be interesting information for you to like dig deeper and look for other selections as options. So. Using what you like and finding instrumental versions and having couple different, again, coming back to temple and volume something a little bit more neutral because that's a lot of times that's where we want to bring clients, right.

Or even ourselves from like that really fast pace where that really like slower, like drained exhaustion. Coming more into like a neutral space to recharge and regroup and ground ourselves is just really an easier space to

Chris McDonald: engage in. Yeah. Cause I'm thinking of how it can tie in so well with mindfulness practices.

And I remember just playing it when I was a school counselor for entire classrooms, a kid . Wow. Just having music before we did, we started an activity, just listening to the music, see how that felt. And you know what I would do. I'd like, leave it open and draw a picture of what you felt, you know, with kids.

Exactly. Just doing something simple. It doesn't have to be. And I think some people might feel like, oh, this is, you know, outta my scope. But I think it's just something that to integrate, right. That is that everybody can find a way and music is for everybody, I think. And it's not just for musicians or people who know music theory it's for everybody.

Joyu Lee: And truly it's also. If kids tell your teenagers, tell you that music is my fear, then there is so much of. Well, what, what does that do for you? How is that helpful? And I think that's the question that we're always asking, right? Like, is this helpful to, why do I find this helpful? Because then knowing why it's helpful, then you could kind of like explore some of the theme and variations of that too.

And I think that really theme and variations is such like a, a,

Chris McDonald: a

Joyu Lee: musical term, but I find that if there are some connection, Then it's worth exploring.

Chris McDonald: Yeah, for sure. And I think with meditation too, cause I've used sometimes just have meditation instrumental, like you said, for meditation time, some people do better with meditation to have music is what I've found to have something to focus on and, and just allowing them to be in that space or with teenagers sometimes I would have them bring in, um, what is some music you connect with?

Yeah. Bring that a session. Absolutely.

Joyu Lee: For, um, practitioners and, and clinicians out there that truly may not have a lot of time to explore music. I often recommend look into movie music because movie soundtracks. Yeah. There's so much that pairs with the stories. So there's also like the elements, you know, when you're, when you're energized and you're out, out and about and doing things, but there's also like the more like S scenic background things and depending on what the movie is about too, um, there's.

Purely some excellent selection that covers not just classical music, but using a lot more like different instrumental music that helps stimulates imagery because the composers are already writing the music with that intention. So I. Highly highly

Chris McDonald: recommend. That's a great suggestion. Yeah. And it does move you if you ever really pay attention to the music and movies, for sure.

But I wanna thank you so much for coming on the podcast today. Enjoy you, Chris. Thank you so much for having me. What's the best way for listeners to find you and learn more about you? Um,

Joyu Lee: so currently I am the most active on probably Instagram and excellent. So just music in your mind and. Feel free to send me an email.

If you have like questions or just saying that you might be interested in, in, um, exploration. So absolutely email addresses is attached in the, the notes.

Chris McDonald: And we'll have that in our show notes on the website, if you are listening and can't write it down. so, so people can access through there, but this has been a wonderful experience.

I, I gotta thank you so much for coming on. Thank you, Chris. And listeners be sure to visit us@wwwholisticcounselingpodcast.com to access our show notes and all of our episodes. And don't forget to join us for another episode next Wednesday. This is Chris. McDonald's sending each one of you much late in love until next time.


Joyu Lee: care.

Chris McDonald: Thank you for listening and supporting the holistic counseling podcast. If you are loving this podcast, please share with your colleagues so we can continue to grow our holistic community. Also, are you ready to take the next. Create an integrative counseling practice. I invite you to sign up for my free nine part email course becoming a holistic counselor.

In this course, you'll explore different holistic strategies. How to develop your skills as a holistic counselor and how to manifest your dream practice. Go to www.holisticcounselingpodcast.com. Scroll down and enter your name and email address today.

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