Help Your Clients Focus on “Self-Love” This Valentine’s Day!

 by Sammi Graham, MT-BC

I love planning holiday-themed sessions and making visual aids, but when a client of mine recently requested a Valentine’s folder song — I realized that I had none! I took to the internet and found ideas for several appropriate activities to use with my individual clients (some of which you can find here).

In addition to working with individual clients in home-health, I facilitate weekly music therapy groups for adolescents and adults at an inpatient psychiatric facility. I felt inspired by my search for Valentine’s activities, so I challenged myself to create a themed session for my groups. I wanted to make sure to steer clear of the “romantic” theme of Valentine’s Day, so here is my “Self-Love” themed lyric analysis and supplemental activity:

Keep reading for a free download of all materials mentioned in this post!


Task Analysis

1. I begin almost all of my group lyric analyses by encouraging clients/patients to mark any word, line, or section that stands out to them. I also let them know that the lyric sheets are theirs to keep so I will not know what they marked unless they choose to share.

2. After singing through the clean version of “Perfect” by Pink, ask: “Is there anyone who marked something that they would be willing to share with the group?” and facilitate that discussion.

3. Here are some examples of questions you can ask if you feel that group needs further prompting:

  1. Who do you think she is talking to in this song? What in the lyrics tells you that?
  2. Lines 15-20 are about negative self-talk. Is there a difference between the way you talk to your friends and the way you talk to yourself? Why do you think that is?
  3. What effect does negative self-talk have? Is it helpful?
  4. Line 36, why do you think she shifts from saying “we” to “I”?
  5. If this song is about positive self-image, why do you think it is called “perfect”? What is she trying to say by calling this person “perfect”?

4. Following the lyric discussion, pass out the activity sheet (I’m providing an option of a heart or a circle) and coloring materials.  

5. Tell the group that they will be filling this page with positive self-talk.

Make a point to state the importance of this exercise to the group: “This activity may be difficult at first. We are sometimes taught to not speak well of ourselves as it is seen as conceited, narcissistic, or boastful. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses, and it is just as important to notice our strengths (we’ll discuss the importance of this more later).” 

6. Play this clean version of “i” by Kendrick Lamar as background music while they work on the activity (this is another song with excellent content for lyric analysis).

7. Other than the following instructions, the format is up to them:

  1. Fill the center part of the visual with “I”, “Me”, “I am”, or their own name.
  2. Include at least one of each of the following:

 – I am (personality traits)

 – I can (something you’re good at)

 – I have (something you’ve accomplished)

 – I will (personal goals)

3. Some other helpful prompts:

 – Compliments you’ve received

 – Beliefs, hobbies, talents, culture, appearance, etc.

8. Go around in a circle and have everyone share at least one thing they wrote in positive self-statement format (ex: “I have a warm personality” or “I am good with animals”).

9. Some follow-up questions:

Why is it important to recognize our strengths? They can help us during difficult times.

What can we do if something we’re saying to ourselves detracts from these things?

10. Closing thoughts for the group: “I encourage you to keep this worksheet as a reminder to consciously replace negative self-talk with positive self-talk. Speak with the warmth, acceptance, and forgiveness that you would offer a friend and see how it changes your perception of yourself.”

    Additional Comments

    • This lyric analysis can be modified for use with different diagnoses/populations as well. For example, I will ask concrete open-ended questions about the lyric content of this song to work on reading comprehension and short-term memory with several of my individual clients.
    • You can omit the bridge as a whole if you feel that the line mentioning alcohol consumption is inappropriate.

    Thanks for reading! Feel free to email me at with any questions. 🙂

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