One of my favorite songs from the 2000s era is “2 Step” by Dj Unk. “A two step, A two step. Now go and two step, now go on and two step. Now get jiggy wit’ it, now get jiggy wit’ it!” These lyrics by DJ Unk bring up pleasant memories of dancing in a circle with my college friends at Love Nightclub in Washington, DC. I invite you to pause for a moment to think about one of your favorite songs. What types of feelings, thoughts and memories come to mind?
Music has the ability to evoke various memories and emotions within us. These include feelings of joy, inspiration and sadness. Music also has the ability to unite and heal people. Music therapists utilize music in their practice to support people with treating behavioral health conditions and enhancing their physical, emotional and mental well-being. “There are songs you hear that spark the power that drive you to be better, stronger and filled with purpose,” says Jennifer A. Pope, LCSW-C.
World Music Therapy Day is on March 1st. In honor of this day we recognize Jennifer A. Pope, LCSW-C. Jennifer is a Mental Health Advocate, Entrepreneur and the Author of "Music Is My Therapy". In this book, different music themes, such as love, hope, anger, and self-confidence, are integrated with mindful questions to help readers use music as a therapeutic tool. Each chapter begins with readers receiving knowledge on music and its benefits. A series of questions follow, inviting readers to consider how the songs have impacted their lives. Additionally, readers are encouraged to use music as a source for feeling, healing, being and coping.
Music has always been a passion for Jennifer because her father played instruments and had a huge record collection that he played frequently. She was inspired to write "Music Is My Therapy" after losing her father in 2018. Music supported Jennifer with healing from grief. She shared that music helped her process her feelings and alleviated insomnia. Her favorite songs for empowerment include "Run the World by Beyoncé", "Feel like a Woman by Shania Twain"; and "Be Optimistic by Sounds of Blackness".
Jennifer states the health benefits of music include: reducing blood pressure, sharpening focus on spatial tasks, and alleviating stress. Music also helps in activating parts of the brain that release chemicals (i.e dopamine, endorphins) that make individuals feel better physically and emotionally.
In Jennifer’s clinical practice she integrates music into her therapy sessions to support clients with healing. She suggests, “Music has a way of helping people communicate things that may be hard to say.”
In her experience, using music for treatment has been effective, as clients can relate to music and find it more preferable than talk therapy. Jennifer suggests "Rise Up by Andra Day", as a song to offer encouragement to others.
Jennifer is the Founder of J. Pope & Associates, LLC, whose mission is to enhance the well-being of children, youth, adults and families in urban communities. She offers individual, family and group therapy; and couples counseling. Jennifer also practices her own wellness. She enhances her well-being by attending live music concerts, comedy shows, attending sporting events with her children, spending time with close friends and family; and helping others in her community.
In celebration of the upcoming World Music Therapy Day, we encourage you to set aside time to be present and enjoy your favorite songs! “The magic of music is the massage of the mind that allows us to unwind,” says Jennifer. Let your hair down, move your body, and feel the beat as music guides you to healing after grief, a long work day, or a self-care activity. There is power in the beats and rhythm.
To connect with Jennifer A. Pope for more information on her book and services please visit:
IG : @j.popeconnections and @music.ismy.therapy
Writer, B.White, LCSW-C is a Self-Care Advocate and Wellness Trainer. Connect with her online at @lovelightshinellc.
Photos Courtesy Of Mykia James at Uniquely Framed & Mikelovemadeit