PostDBT Mindfulness- Getting a Clear Picture using Music Therapy

submitted by Alexandra Bricklin MT-BC

(created while studying the Skills System Instructor’s Guide by Julie Brown)

Step 1: Notice Breath: Use an accordion to exaggerate fast uncontrolled breathing moving to slow controlled breathing.

Step 2: Notice surroundings – Teach adapted version of Elvis Presley’s “ Stop Look and Listen” to affirm the process of remembering to check in with the “here and now”

“Stop Look And Listen” by Elvis Presley (1956)

When I was a little bitty boy

Sittin’ on my papa’s knee

I still remember every word my papa said to me

Now boy if you ever meet A pretty woman walking down the street… (

check it out on Youtube)

You’d better Stop real still, look both ways Listen or you’ll get in trouble

Adapted for DBT by Alexandra Bricklin (2013)

(D)When I’m about to lose control

(D) I will choose to remember my goal

(G) to take a breath and look around

(G) and to then listen to the sound

(C) So when I’m mad or when I’m sad,

(C) or when want to run real bad I should

(F) Stop real still, look both ways Listen or I’ll get in trouble!!!!!

Step 3: Body Check Teach the Macarena. A good clean youtube source is

Step 4: Label and Rate Emotions Use a familiar sound for each level

Examples: Level 1: purring kitten;

Level 2: Baby Laughing

Level 3: Ocean Waves

Level 4, Train whistle

Level 5, race-car engine

Level 6 explosion-  Have group members create their own

. Step 5: Notice Thoughts

Play the first 30 seconds of a variety of songs familiar to group members. Ask participant what they think when they hear the song.

Step 6: Notice Urges Set up a series of frustrating experiences such as intentionally speak too soft to be heard clearly, or play the music too loud or stand in front of the group and do nothing for an unusual period of time. After each encounter, ask participant to share their urges.

For more about DBT informed Music Therapy visit