submitted by Rene Dundas MT-BC
To build relationships with others we must start with having a good relationship with ourselves
We all have relationships with ourselves as well as with other people! Its important that we become aware of how we feel about ourselves, what we say about ourselves, knowing and understanding what goes on inside of us.
We need to value ourselves, believe in and trust ourselves. Do you ever say something bad about yourself if you make a mistake? Many people think of themselves as being “wrong” or “bad” when we are told we did something wrong. All it means is that we made a mistake, not that we are wrong all the time!
Just as we develop relationships with other people, we do the same with ourselves. We need to accept ourselves, forgive, value and trust ourselves. Accept responsibility, apologize if we have hurt someone, accept, value and trust that we are not bad people, we only made a mistake. Because you value and trust yourself, you will remember next time to do your best to do it differently and learn from the mistake.
Notice how you talk to yourself about yourself. Focus on the positive and practice being non-judgmental.
Inspired by Julie Brown’s book The Skills System Instructor’s Guide these are things to keep in mind:
• Get to know yourself
• What you can do really well (your strengths) and what you need help with (needs).
• Accept others and yourself as being the best you can be in that given moment.
• Understand that all of us are human and simply doing the best we can with the information we have.
• Treat yourself with value. You are worth something, you have things to give and can help make others feel better.
• Treat yourself gently like you would if you were holding a little kitten that is so sweet and innocent.
• Nurture yourself; say nice things about yourself, respect, accept, value and trust yourself.
- Give yourself good food, exercise, lots of sleep and water.
- Contributing to others can also nurture yourself . When we serve others and think of them we are being kind and helping both of us feel better!
• Say positive things about yourself and others
• Trust yourself that you will always do the best you can at the moment
• Treat others, as you would like them to treat you!
1. Teacher demonstrates mindfulness:
She sits in on piano bench with good posture and takes a deep breath. She then becomes aware of her body by stretching her arms up, then circles then own a few times – up and down. She becomes aware of her body and her surroundings and puts her left hand on her right knee and twists – she takes a deep breath in as she sits up straight then breaths out as she twists her torso to the right. As she does this, she looks around and notices what is going on in the room – the sunlight coming in through the window, where children are standing, etc. She does this again 2 more times on each side, 3X all together.
She starts playing a glissando all the way up and down the 88 keys to indicate her exploration of her surroundings by exploring the piano. She even uses her fingers to feel the piano itself, the piano bench, etc. She checks her thinking – “am I right here in the moment or am I thinking about something that happened yesterday or that may happen tomorrow. I bring myself back to now by sitting in the middle of the keyboard, at middle C and play that note several times to keep me on-track.
Noticing her thoughts and urges, she states that she wants to pound on the piano keys with her elbows, then remembers that thoughts come and go and she does not have to act-out urges – that could hurt the piano and it may also sounds horrible to others and herself.
Back on-track, she plays a major scale in treble clef, then in bass. She plays it evenly, with a steady beat. She then plays a scale or two, or maybe a simple tune with one note harmony and begins to smile. She is now on-track and ready to interact with the piano or she can invite someone to join her, which
2. The class discusses what they noticed about her actions
3. Teacher uses the instrument to portray self relationship behaviors
She watches very carefully how she is sitting at the piano, how her hand posture is, watching each finger press each one at a time (self awareness). She makes a mistake (on purpose), takes one hand and gently places it on her other arm for a soft stroke (self acceptance). She plays the tune correctly, smiles, nods her head and closes her eyes that she knows she can play well (self value) and trusts herself to play with her eyes closed!
4. Now she demonstrates relating with another person
Teacher then asked her Assistance (or music therapy intern, or field work student, etc.) to join her at the piano. They play out the on-track behaviors playing a duet. They take turns; listen to each other, play the same rhythm and with similar tone. As she TA sits, the teacher acknowledges her with a major chord and is asked by nod of head to play same chord to indicating acceptance of her being there. The TA plays the same chord indicating that she is listening and responding with respect.
The teacher plays a short, simple tune, which the TA is invited to copy, which she does (give and take, sharing). The one playing treble plays the simple tune again and the bass clef player gets a nod in asking to play a simple harmony (creating a relationship based on give and take and two-way street.
5. Demonstrates unwise behavior and how it effects the realtionship
Now the treble player starts to play loudly and irrationally. She reaches over and uses bass keys, interrupting the TA playing (she has changed from middle ground to all about me – no give, only take). The TA tries to balance and repair the relationship by attempting to play in agreement, or in some way accompany this type of playing but could not find a place to play due to the other player moving her hands up and down the keyboard, leaving nowhere for her to play. The TA (bass player) stops playing ( to get to wise mind to see what her next step should be and try to balance the relationship).
Yet, the teacher thinks the TA is not participating and she and starts pounding on the piano with dissonance, expressing herself in an unwise emotion mind manner – playing loudly and disturbingly to express her anger.
The piano playing stops and the teacher explains what’s happening.
6.The students are then asked if anyone knows how this relationships can be balanced, how they can find middle ground.
The students discuss how or if the relationship can be repaired and put back on-track. The teacher created a relationship problem by playing all the piano keys, up and down from bass to treble and back again, playing very loudly, off key, dissonantly. She was all take, no give. When the TA tried to play with her anyway to find some middle ground, she found she could not and stopped playing in hopes of changing the relationship. She felt the teacher may have come to an impasse and was now unable to come to a middle ground and they may have to end the relationship.
So, the teacher had a misperception of the TA when she stopped playing and made an irrational assumption. TA stopped playing not because she was unwilling to but she was simply stopping because the teacher herself had begun the off-track behavior.
The teacher interjects here that we always have to check with the other person if our perceptions are correct. We all have different perspectives of things .
It is a good relationship skill to always check in with your partner about what is happening with them and tell them what is happening with you.
The concession the students came up with was first, both pianists needed to do get mindful, observe and describe and participate by talking about what happened. They needed to choose sides of the piano and work it out. The teacher, the one who started the unwise behavior needed to take responsibility and apologize. The TA needed to accept and value the teacher and see that she is human, and we all make mistakes. The TA did not put the teacher down or say she was a bad person. The TA decided to move on, let it all go so they could work it out.
The teacher and TA played-out all the steps the students suggested to work out They found middle ground and continued playing a beautiful duet, which was the main goal in the beginning. They both like to play piano, especially when playing a duet with someone. So they both got what they wanted by being mindful, making wise choices with their behavior, communicating skillfully (DEARMAN) , and kept their relationship in tact.
For more about DBT informed Music Therapy visit dbtmusic.com