The Relaxation Music of Enhanced Healing and Dr. Harry Henshaw

I would like to share my current work and the benefit that I believe it has for not only counselors but anyone wishing to experience a sense of true relaxation and as a result reduce the stress in their life.  What I am currently engaged in creating for myself and the world is a definite outgrowth of education, training and employment as a therapist.  What I am doing now is developing what I refer to as therapeutic relaxation music and exploring its many possibilities as a change modality.

I received my doctoral degree over 25 years ago in Human Development from Boston University.  After school I have had a variety of counseling and administrative positions in mental health and substance abuse programs in the states of Illinois, Massachusetts and Florida.  I am currently employed as one of the senior therapist at a drug rehab program here in the Miami area where I conduct individual and group counseling session with addicts.  The music that I have created is a very important component in my present work as a therapist.

After working for several years in the counseling field I eventually became trained in both Neuro Linguistic Programming and hypnosis.  From the beginning I was fascintated with the practice of NLP and hypnosis and found them to be very powerful for helping individuals to bring about true and lasting change in their life.  As part of the trance work that I was initially doing I also employed a variety of different relaxation music recordings.  The music definitely helped with the hypnosis that I was conducting.

Eventually I become dissatisfied with the relaxation music that I was using and started to compose my own recordings.  Having received 11 years of piano training in my childhood, I started to experiment with different type of compositions.  Eventually I created the type of relaxation music that I am still using today.  I soon found that the kind of relaxation music that I was creating helped people to experience a deep state of relaxation, go into trance much quicker and also achieve much more benefical results from the  hypnotic work .

While the relaxation music was initially developed for my hypnotic practice I also started to use it in individual and group counseling sessions.  During both types of sessions I would play the music at an ambient level so that it would create a relaxed background but not be of a distracting nature for the client.  Most counselors and therapists do not understand the power of relaxation music for benefiting a client.

After years of working with this type of music, I believe that it is the structure of the music that creates the beneficial effect for the client.  First, there is the actual structure of the musical composition.  I have found that long, sustained chords or voices, approximately 12 to 15 seconds in duration, with slow transitions between them creates an audio environment condusive to experiencing a sense of deep relaxation.  Listening to this type of relaxatiton music is truly a physical experience.

The second component of the recordings is the binaural audio tones that have been interwoven into the music. The binaural tones, through a process referred to as entrainment or frequency following, gently directs the mind/body to generate more of the targeted frequency of brain wave activity whether it be for either profound relaxation or sleep. The recordings for deep relaxaton contain binaural audio tones within the theta range while the recordings for sleep contains binaural audio tones within the delta range.

What I have also found is that in addtion to the listener experiencing a state of deep relaxation he is more open to suggestions, that is, where suggestions can be given that will more likely be accepted and acted upon.  When an individual is truly relaxed he is much less defensive and as a result much more open to considering the possibility of new and different ideas  for behaving and being different.  The end result for the client is improved ability to let go of the barriers and constraints that have limited him in his life and through acceptance create the possibility of change at a much more rapid pace.


Two ways to deal with Breakdowns in Recovery.

One way to effectively deal with a breakdown or upset, especially if it is creating the urge to drink or do drugs, is to talk with another human being.  Keeping an upset to yourself or keeping it up in your head is a receipt for disaster.  Something negative will probably happen to your if you do not share what is going on with you.  This is why it is important to create a support network of people you can call, sponsor, therapist or friends in recovery.

The second way to begin to effectively deal with an upset or breakdown is to take a look at what you are not accepting about the situation, people, places or things.  Most if not all upsets and breakdowns are about having something happen that we believe should not have happened even though it did.  Our work, and it is work, is to accept what happened, to eventually get it that everything happens in the way it is supposed to happen.  Our work is to take that on as a possibility and in the work to accept fully what we did not once accept.

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The Use of Therapeutic Relaxation Music in Counseling.

Music has always been a very important part of our lives.  As a part of our experience, music can have both a physiological and psychological affect upon us as human beings.  Music also has many therapeutic qualities and has been utilized in promoting a variety of healings throughout the ages.  As we know further, music can be a very powerful medium for altering our state, of changing how we actually feel.  Music can be very effective in producing a very deep and healing state of relaxation and in the process, reduce stress and even promote sleep. Music can also be used to assist one in improving his or her self-esteem and furthering an individualís personal growth and development, transformation.

As a therapist I have always used relaxation music in my clinical and counseling work with others.  I have found that when I use relaxation music during both an individual and group counseling session that my clients do more productive work, are able to focus more effectively on themselves and the issues that they are becoming present to because they are more relaxed, focused and centered and as a result, better able to concentrate.  Being relaxed during the counseling process, at least initially always tends to generate more productive results for the individual being counseled.  Relaxation music can be a very effective and powerful aid for assisting a client to reach resolution with respect to that which he or she is working on with their counselor.

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Our Nature as Human Being Involves Resistance.

As human beings we do not really want or like to change.  We like for things to be the same, for us not to have to put forth much effect to have what we say we want.  We do not want to change and even, will resist change especially if another human being attempts to help us.  Yes, we do change but we have to first get it that we do not want to change.  Accepting our resistance is important for the process.  We must first accept the fact that we will resist change in order for us to take it into consideration in our planning to transform our lives.  It is important for us to plan and to make goals but it is equally important for us to plan how we will resist the process, will resist our achieving the goals we set.  Such planning gives us power to respond appropriately when needed.

In my work in recovery I counsel people in how to recognize when they are resisting, when they are doing things to counter the goals they set and say they want.  Such insight is important and necessary if individuals are to say in the program of recovery.  The resistance will also show up in the very suggestions that are given, by a sponsor or therapist.  The tendency is not only to resist but to continue to do it his or her way, with the results usually the same, much of how it was in the past.  Our tendency is to try to do things and life our way, even when we continue to get the same results.

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When is someone ready to transform his or her life?

The question of when is someone ready to transform his or her life is an important one to consider.  Such a question is important for any therapist or sponsor to consider and contemplate.  It is my opinion that a person is ready to transform their life when they are ready to do the work and become committed to the process.  This does not mean that they will not resist the process as they definitely will resist.  It does not mean that there will be no upsets or breakdowns during the person’s transformation because there will be, something that should be counted on happening.  Resistance and breakdowns are part of the deal, part of the journey.  In addition,a person is ready to transform his or her life when they begin to move their inquiry and focus to themselves and away from others, away from people, places and things, when they give up the blame and thinking that someone else is the cause of their life.  A person is ready to transform their life when they start to assume responsibility for the life, for how they act, feel and think, for their very way of being.

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More Red Flags

There are many Red Flags for one who is in the process of recovery. In addition to not communicating with ones sponsor, other Red Flags are missing or being late for meetings, becoming to busy for recovery work, never doing the homework assigned by a sponsor or therapist, never sharing in meetings, complaining about the meeetings, a sponsor or counselor, creating disruptions in meetings, not listening to those sharing in meetings, falling asleep or being tired in meetings, being resistant or arguing about the topic or subject of the meeting and leaving the meeting before it is finished. Part of the work of a counselor or sponsor is to coach the addict into recognizing the Red Flags as they appear in his or her behavior and how to communicate the Red Flag to another person, specifically his or her sponsor or counselor.

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