It’s not always easy to find songs that are: a) considered “cool” by the teens I work and b) able to be used therapeutically.

I know because this year I’ve spent countless hours listening to songs and watching videos on YouTube.

Sometimes it’s slim pickings.

But, a few weeks ago I came back to a song that had been mentioned by the teens I work with – “Stitches” by Shawn Mendes.

The first time I heard the song I loved the catchy clapping pattern in the background.

Immediately I knew I could find ways to use that rhythmic pattern to assist in addressing the attention-based goals that are at the core of my treatment plans for these clients.

I wrote the rhythm pattern below on a wipe off board and instructed the teens to clap it during the pre-chorus of the song (which starts with “Got a feeling that I’m going under.”)

Stitches 1

Then I wrote a second rhythm pattern (below) on the board and instructed the teens to clap it during the chorus of the song (which starts with “You watch me bleed until I can’t breathe.”)

Stitches 2

Then I set a “pop beat” on my keyboard to help establish and maintain the rhythm and we sang and clapped the rhythm pattern as I instructed.

The intervention went so well!!

The teens already knew and liked this song, so they were singing along with me from the start. The beat from the keyboard helped the teens maintain the rhythm pattern and also helped our rendition sound authentic to the recording.

One variation on this intervention would be to pass out rhythm sticks, drum or another instrument and instruct clients to maintain the same pattern on the instrument.

Another variation (to really work on selective attention!) is split the group in two and assign a different rhythm pattern to each group.

Maybe I’ll try that variation next week…..

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