This list of Songs was compiled by Emily Spears, MSCP TLLP with suggestions from many DBT Therapists. The following list contains the name of the song, DBT skills reinforced, and the YouTube link so you can listen.
There are many ways to use songs to reinforce DBT skills.
How do you use them?
Brave by Sarah Bareilles – Interpersonal Effectiveness
Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On by Jimmy Buffett – mindfulness, distress tolerance
“Closer to Fine” by the Indigo Girls. The lyrics are very powerful and seem to express dialectical thinking and walking the middle path.
Counting Stars by One Republic – Mindfulness, dialectics in the lyrics
Downtown by Petula Clark – Distract (with Activities)
Everybody Hurts by REM
Happy by Pharrell Williams – Creating opposite emotion
I Whistle a Happy Tune (from The King and I) – Opposite-to-Emotion Action
I Must Belong Somewhere by Bright Eyes – Radical Acceptance
Learn to Live by Darius Rucker – Great song to support/encourage practice of nonjudgmental and self-compassion.
Let It Go from Frozen – Can be a theme song when you focus on emotions. Also about emotional avoidance.
Living in the Moment by Jason Mraz – Mindfulness
My Favorite Things (from The Sound of Music) – Improve the Moment (with Imagery)
On and on it goes by Mary Chapin Carpenter – Dialectical thinking, self-compassion, radical acceptance of the world as it is, good and bad
Shake it Off by Taylor Swift – Radical Acceptance
Tubthumping by Chumbawumba
“I get knocked down, But I get up again, You’re never going to keep me down”. Persistence is important, take those setbacks into your stride.
Wake me up by Avicii – distress tolerance
Watching The Wheels by John Lennon – Mindfulness
What Do you Hear in these Sounds by Dar Williams
Hope – May be useful in teaching validation part of Dear Man Gives as in the line “But oh how I loved everybody else when I finally got to talk so much about myself.”
For more about DBT informed Music Therapy visit dbtmusic.com