Tiffany Music Therapy

The Beatles & Therapy

Help Song Lyrics
It’s common to use different approaches and exercises to help one express themselves in therapy. Using a music-centered approach, we might find ourselves engaging in exercises that involve listening to, writing, or analyzing music.
One of my favourite music-centered tools is lyric analysis. Lyric analysis involves interpreting, sharing, or dissecting the words and messages of a song to help one identify personal issues, explore emotions, and relate to the experiences of others.

The Beatles

An example of the power of lyrics can be taken from the song Help! by The Beatles. Despite the rock ‘n’ roll feel and upbeat nature of the song, Help! was later discovered to be a cry for help.
The Beatles released Help! as the theme song for their movie “Help!”. After some back and forth about the title of the movie, John Lennon rose to the challenge of writing the theme song to their film on short notice. However, what the rest of The Beatles didn’t know, was that John Lennon subconsciously wrote Help! as an expression of his challenges with fame.

The Power of Lyrics

The song came at the tipping point of The Beatles’ rise to fame, and heard in the lyrics was John Lennon’s cry for help as he struggled with “being a Beatle”. Lennon described the demands of fame to have had a negative impact on his physical health, relationships, and self-perception. He expressed dissatisfaction, misery, and a yearning for someone to hear him.

As displayed by John Lennon, lyrics have tremendous power to influence how we perceive, express, and understand a song. Help! presents itself with a fast upbeat rhythm and a positive cheerful melody– perhaps leading us to overlook the lyrics. But observing the lyrics, we notice an individual seeking help. We hear from someone who is unhappy, needing support, and is desperate for someone to hear their message.

Analyzing Lyrics in Therapy

Song lyrics in therapy can help us to articulate the feelings we might have but can’t quite describe. Analyzing songs that remind us of an experience, or sound as our feelings feel, can jumpstart the process of opening doors to painful experiences we’ve maybe closed.

Analyzing song lyrics can also serve as a basis for expression or discussion in therapy. We don’t need to know the history behind a song in order to connect to what the artist is singing about. Relating to the song can provide us with enough relief and healing .

Finally, song lyrics also serve as a safe distance through which we can explore our problems. Sometimes it can be too difficult to talk about what’s going on or what’s happened. So having a source of expression that’s tangible and outside of ourselves can relieve us of the pressure to articulate challenging emotions