«Student: Nazaret Gómez Roca Supervisor: Esperanza Torres Secondary supervisor: Ulla Holck Master thesis at the Master Programme in Music Therapy ...»
Songwriting whith adolescents in a Secondary School 6 Exploring emotional expresion, interpersonal relationships and identity formation Teenagers with emotional and instrumental support in the context of a relationship will be better able to confront and solve the problems of this period (Garaigordobil, 2008).
- Psychological transformations in adolescence: crisis and reconstruction of personal identity.
For Erikson (1981) adolescence is a key moment in the development of identity, defining the concept of personal identity as distinct differentiation, the individual self to others, to society, reality and values. The adolescent tries to answer the question, Who am I? A healthy teenager would complete the task of identity formation.
Fierro (1985) states that identity is psychosocial in nature and contains cognitive elements as the individual judges himself according to his perception of how others judge him. It is a stage in which the individual searches for identity.
In the context of the identity crisis that is seen in adolescence, teenagers stop idealizing their parents, searching for new lifestyles rejecting what is familiar and showing opposition to authority (parents, teachers...). However, studies that have analyzed the factors associated with teenage rebellion (Noller and Callan, 1991) have shown a greater likelihood that this occurs when the authoritarian structure of the family is patriarchal and unequal, the discipline is severe or inconsistent and marriage is unhappy, leading to a lack of respect for parents and, therefore, to rebellion.
The teenager looks for a new identity, and it is normal in this process to feel anxious and confused, to distance oneself from the home, to rebel against authority, and to be contradictory in ones subsequent behavior and ones desire (Garaigordobil, 2008).
In the process of identity formation the 15-year-old adolescent:
- Becomes aware of his own self, shows concern for his own thoughts and feelings and those of others, requires feedback about his personality, wants to be alone, becomes observant.
- Wants to be independent, rejects the home, looks for friends and gangs of his age;
free time is very important for him because it allows for personal development.
- His emotions fluctuate, he isolates himself, he needs love but does not show it, gets demoralized by criticism and shows little concern for school.
In short this 15-year-old could be defined as an self in search for privacy (Garaigordobil, 2008).
Songwriting whith adolescents in a Secondary School 7 Exploring emotional expresion, interpersonal relationships and identity formation
- Social Transformations in adolescence: significance and evolution of the group during this period.
Wanting to fit into a group is one of the ultimate manifestations of adolescence.
In his search for identity, the adolescent turns to the uniformity of the group in which he wants to find security and esteem. At this stage the group spirit emerges, group members accept the dictates of the group. The group is the necessary transition in the external world to achieve adult individuation.
The group shared experience will provide an excellent frame to ritualize the separation of the primitive family pattern. The group territory is a surrogate family space, where the youngster is provided with a space of freedom beyond the control and dominance of the adult.
In this context, the peer group is a great source of influence for adolescent development. The importance of the group phenomenon in adolescence is due to the search made by the adolescent for a new identity in a period of significant changes in group membership, mainly the family.
According to Graigordóbil (2008), peer interaction offers significant benefits for social and personal development, since it promotes the emergence of conflicts which lead to internal restructuring and promote cognitive development. It also supports the decision making process in order to build awareness of self and others. It promotes the learning situations of social interaction strategies, cooperation and autonomy. Peer interaction encourages the development of self-regulation of behavior.
2.2. Develop a sense of themselves to promote identity formation
Oaklander (2008) affirms the need for children and adolescents to "strengthen the sense of self". To Oaklander, children who have experienced traumas such as the divorce of their parents, block their emotions related to trauma and are not sure how to express them. Because children are basically self-centered and as part of their normal development process take everything personally, they take responsibility and blame for any trauma that occurs. This phenomenon causes further suppression of their emotions, as they do not have a strong enough personality to admit them, much less express them. In addition, children absorb many negative misconceptions about themselves, because they don't use their cognitive ability to discriminate between true and false. These negative messages produce fragmentation, inhibit healthy growth and integration and are the cause of low self-esteem and self-deprecating attitude.
Songwriting whith adolescents in a Secondary School 8 Exploring emotional expresion, interpersonal relationships and identity formation Helping children and adolescents to develop a strong sense of self gives them a feeling of well-being and a positive sense of self as well as the inner strength to express those buried emotions (Oaklander, 2008).
To help children and adolescents to build their sense of self it is essential to provide experiences with lost aspects of self.
The senses, body, intellect and emotions make up the organism: the self. When talking about problems of the self, we generally use words such as low self-esteem or self-concept.
Oaklander (2008) uses the term "sense of self" because it seems a more integrative vision than self-esteem. This does not mean having a high opinion of ourselves, but how to be fully aware of ourselves and what means we have to interact with the world.
Webster's Dictionary defines the self as:
1. Identity, nature or characteristics of a person.
2. Identity, personality, individuality of a specific person, a unique person different from others.
3. A person in their best condition.
4. The union of elements (body, emotions, thoughts and sensations) that constitute the identity and individuality of a person.
To achieve a strong, integrated sense of self, we must strengthen the following elements (Oaklander, 2008):
1. The senses (sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell).
2. The body (be aware of everything that the body can do, as well as breathing and voice).
3. Intellect (choose, decide, define the self, recognizing projections).
4. Domain, expertise and independence.
5. Power and control.
6. Use of borders and boundaries.
7. Capacity for play (playfulness, imagination, humor).
8. Attention to negative misconceptions about themselves to achieve integration.
9. Using aggressive energy.
10. The sixth sense (to use intuition and trust yourself).
Through this usic therapy program with adolescents, I aim to strengthen the sense of self in adolescents, helping them to express themselves in a free form (their emotions, thoughts, Songwriting whith adolescents in a Secondary School 9 Exploring emotional expresion, interpersonal relationships and identity formation tastes, needs, fantasies). It is a way of making them aware of what they want in the present moment and to decide among various options presented to them.
In order to do this I will present a case with positive results, to try to illustrate how, through music and music therapy, adolescents can strengthen their self-awareness and in turn, support identity formation.
2.3. Educational approach 2.3.1. Education as a means of promoting personal resources We have already mentioned in the introduction the need for education that promotes the capabilities and resources of the people José Antonio Marina (2005) speaks about. His idea is based on a "resource theory": it attempts to provide our young people with the means necessary to get ahead in a world with an uncertain future.
If we give our children internal resources to cope with the vicissitudes of life and to develop a personality with resources, we will be giving them one of the best tools so they can live happily, whatever the environment that surrounds them.
Among the key resources Marina (2005) indicates as points for development are: basic security, emotional stability or resilience, wisdom, fortitude, diligence, responsible autonomy, creativity, joy, sociability, compassion, respect and sense of justice.
2.3.2. Education from a psychosocial perspective
When we think about enhancing the human being's resources, the emotional life of the classroom group is a fundamental aspect to investigate and consider. On this emotional life depends the environment in which the phenomenon of education is produced. The classroomgroup can be considered as the basic ecosystem of human relations which produces the educational process and development of the individual.
According to the social theory of personality or symbolic interactionism of Mead (1972), it is considered that all the dimensions of individual personality have been constituted in group settings loaded with symbolic meaning for the individual. It is through the experience of social relationships with others, as the individual constructs the representation of his Songwriting whith adolescents in a Secondary School 10 Exploring emotional expresion, interpersonal relationships and identity formation individuality, his own self. It is therefore, through interaction with others that the individual builds his own identity and sense of self.
This project is framed from this psychosocial perspective of the education, as promoted by Garaigordobil (2008), in which the classroom is considered as a group which articulates a set of socio-emotional relationships, which should be the axis of the educational work which aims at comprehensive training.
This psycho-social perspective aims not only to develop a sense of individual self, but to transcend it in favor of a group consciousness that encourages cooperative relationships and support, openness in communication between its members, respect and acceptance of differences, the creation of emotional ties, interpersonal trust and understanding, and a community and universal consciousness. (Peñarrubia, 2003).
From a psychosocial perspective of youth development, ecological theories of human development are also important (Bronfenbrenner, 1987). This author defines the ecological environment as a set of structured systems on different levels, where each contains the other (individual-family-school-community-culture). All levels depend on each other and therefore require joint participation at various levels and intercommunication between them.
Bronfenbrenner's ecological model of human development offers an understanding of the complex and ongoing interaction of people with more or less immediate environments, which integrate the structure and dynamics of social networks and support modes generated in them.
Ecological orientation in community intervention has as its aim the interaction of the person and their environment. A person is seen in constant development and this is conceived as a lasting change in how a person perceives his environment and relates to it.
In this project music therapy is a way to foster this connection between young people and the systems to which they belong, and it is also a way to establish connections between these different systems. The school would be an intermediary between the young person and his family, and the community and culture to which they belong. Music furthers the connection between people and the systems to which they belong, because it is a mode of expression that reflects a culture, and is also a reflection of human beings (McFerran, 2010).
Songs, for example, reflect core values and information about the culture in which they are created.
Songwriting whith adolescents in a Secondary School 11 Exploring emotional expresion, interpersonal relationships and identity formation 2.3.3. The value of integral music education Gonzalez (2011) presents the value and importance of music in the education of students and why it is so important to study music at school. He emphasizes the role of music as a means to develop creativity, self-expression, critical thinking, problem solving, discipline and teamwork as well as the positive effect it has on other areas of knowledge.
Research on the impact of music education in the development of students shows that music affects different aspects of personality such as emotional and social development.
It affects emotional development because when participating in musical activities involving emotions, expressive behavior and creative imagination are encouraged. For Juslin and Sloboda (2001), the musical experience in our lives has a strong emotional component that connects us with our family, social and cultural environment. A study by North, Hargreaves and O'Neill (2000) investigated the motivation of teenagers to listen to music. Young people said that music helped them to meet their emotional needs, relieve tension and stress, and to express their feelings and emotions. This and other studies suggest that the emotional aspect should be one of the most important aspects to consider in the integral development of students, and it should be included in the curriculum for achieving said goal.
Music affects social development because as a social activity it serves several functions.
Thus, individuals who participate in musical activities create a sense of partnership and group identity through personal interaction and music.
It relates to the family group, the inner circle of each individual, whose members can activate or inhibit a proper musical development.