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Depression and Anxiety? Sing a Better Tune with Music Psychotherapy

Holistic Practitioner Spotlight with Stacie Aamon Yeldell, a Music Psychotherapist

We are speaking with Stacie Yeldell, MA, MT-BC, AVPT,  on the topic of Music Therapy and how important a tool it can be in helping others achieve emotional balance and wellness in their lives.

Tell Us a Story About a Client Who Suffered with Depression and Anxiety and How You Helped

Kate is a 45 year old professional woman with 3 children. She works in a male dominated sports arena and has overall, been very successful in her career. However, Kate suffers from low self-esteem, feelings of low self-worth and subsequent anxiety and depression.

Kate also recently experienced a break-up and had just begun dating through a number of phone apps. Historically, Kate struggled in her personal relationships, particularly with men. She continually attracted emotionally unavailable men or men who need to be “fixed” but she was unaware of this pattern and its causes.

Her success in career but seeming failure in relationships was confusing and this negatively impacted her self-worth. Eventually anxiety and depression surfaced. These conditions adversely affected multiple areas of her life, including her ability to be present and patient with her children, her job performance, and her overall ability to care for herself.

Prior to seeing me, Kate tried traditional talk therapy but found it to be unhelpful.

What was your protocol in working with this client?

First I facilitated a clinical assessment and clinical interview indicating an adjustment disorder with depressed mood.

We began our sessions with a music mindfulness meditation modality I innovated. Over time, Kate was able to incorporate this intervention into her daily practice. This would become the foundation of our work together.

Through her daily practice and our weekly sessions, we implemented grounding techniques, increased her ability to be present with herself thereby increasing her self-awareness and ability to emotionally regulate.

To explore and integrate her early childhood wounds and experiences, I utilized music psychotherapy modalities such as:

  • Clinical songwriting
  • Vocal psychotherapy (using breath, natural sounds, vocal improvisation) which included singing, toning, free association, dyadic vocal work (two singing) and vocal holding (facilitates improvised singing).

I also implemented verbal processing of the clinical interventions, when appropriate.

Kate was faithful in developing daily mindfulness and self-care practices which continues to support her when she is not in a session.

What was the outcome?

After 2 years of sessions and daily practices, Kate experiences minimal crises. She reports that her depression has lifted and her anxiety has abated, feeling more confident in her career and more self-assured as a mother. Most promising, Kate attracted a healthier mate with whom she has built a loving and committed relationship.

Why and When Did You Choose the Holistic Path?

I once heard a quote by Einstein: “You can’t solve a problem on the same level it was created.” Since most of my clients are experiencing mental health issues, music therapy and expressive arts therapies are an effective means of treating the “problem” on a higher level of consciousness than its origin (the mind).

My awakening began as a spark in the darkest days of my life: when I had lost my own music. For years I worked at record companies, as well as pursued a career as a recording artist – and both had left me feeling drained and thoroughly spent. Once I discovered music therapy as a profession, my whole world shifted on its axis. A whole new paradigm was revealed through the exploration of my own unconscious – and this is how I would come to help others to explore their own.

One of the reasons why music is such a great tool to explore both apparent and hidden places in the psyche is that it bypasses our normal defense mechanisms and goes straight to the unconscious…and the heart.

My continuing education and passion to evolve led me to mindfulness and energy work, which has expanded my consciousness — and subsequently my private practice — in ways I could not have imagined.

What Lessons Have Your Work and Personal Experiences Taught You?

Throughout my 15 year career as a music therapist, I’ve learned that I can’t guide a client anywhere where I haven’t already been. It is essential that I continue to check in with myself and diligently do my own inner work. It’s essential that I cultivate my own emotional sobriety, as well as maintain my energetic and psychological hygiene.

I have learned that there is a symbiotic, cyclical and reciprocal process that occurs in the teaching/healing space and it is absolutely free of hierarchy. I am teacher/student; healer/healee, simultaneously.

Biography

Stacie Aamon Yeldell, MA, MTBC, AVPT is a Board Certified Music Psychotherapist and sound healing vocalist with 15 years of experience in addiction and mental health treatment. Stacie has treated tens of thousands of individuals in dozens of institutions, hospitals and treatment centers.

Stacie received a Masters degree in Music Therapy from New York University and a certification in Sound and Music Healing from the Open Center in New York City.

She is also a Vocal Psychotherapist (AVPT), which emphasizes the use of the voice as a path to wellness.

Stacie’s work was featured on CBS, Grammy MusiCares Foundation and she was recently featured in the docuseries: “Proven: Healing Breakthroughs Backed by Science.”

Stacie has presented at Women’s Association for Addiction Treatment, Center for Discovery, Evolve Treatment and was a panelist for Akon’s Lighting LA Fest and the Women In Music “Own It” Conference.

Stacie’s passion and mission is to educate, inspire and radically empower individuals through the activation of their innate creativity and the expansion of self-awareness. She provides her clients with a variety of wellness tools through transformational programs, retreats, seminars and resources, with a focus on creative self-expression, such as singing, musicking and music mindfulness practices.

Stacie Aamon Yeldell, MA, MT-BC, AVPT
Music Psychotherapist
Los Angeles, CA. United States

Visit Stacie’s Website

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