We’ve discussed the importance of music therapy before, but we’ve never quite delved in to the amazing talent our own Marlee Simon brings to the table. Fans of our Spotlight Series know that we love taking time to highlight the talented team behind Valley Recovery Center. And Marlee is one of our brightest stars. Not only is she an extremely accomplished musician (with a degree from the esteemed Berklee College of Music in Boston), Marlee also holds an Associate’s Degree in Psychology from College of the Canyons. Her unique skill set allows for counseling and group leadership, along with guitar, vocals and upbeat singalongs. How many therapy sessions can you say that about?
Marlee’s background is remarkable, having worked with special needs children, the elderly (particularly those suffering from dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease) and people battling terminal illnesses. As she puts it, “music is a healing force,” which we happen to completely agree with. Marlee has used her special talents to heal, validate, empower, inspire, connect and motivate people to be their best selves. You can imagine how well that philosophy works in recovery, where self-esteem and emotional healing are crucial.
Marlee has also found music to be an effective coping mechanism, especially for people who are going with withdrawals. Her VRC sessions incorporate everything from songwriting, to lyric analysis, to instrumental improvisation and even meditation. And you certainly don’t have to be a maestro to participate in one of Marlee’s sessions. She’s more than happy to work with beginners, teaching them how to channel their energies into the instrument of their choice. Practice and focus are key healing tools in the recovery process, so learning something like guitar or piano can be extremely therapeutic.
On our site, Marlee shared a few words about the importance of her programs. “Music is a universal language that can be purposefully used to motivate, connect, heal, and inspire people,” she explained. “I am passionate about helping people to discover and actualize their fullest potential. It is my passion and purpose in life to provide opportunities for people to explore their sense of self and to enhance their quality of life through music.”
One of the websites that Marlee regularly participates in is MusicTherapy.org. Pay it a visit and you’ll see the many ways that songs can positively impact people who are struggling. In fact there is an entire research section, which breaks down the scientific ways that music has healed people in recovery. For one, it has been proven to help people open up about their emotions. It’s a common fact that many people do not enter a recovery program willingly. But, a program like this is very non-threatening and upbeat; encouraging patients to lower their guard and appreciate the experience. Music Therapy also helps relieve anxiety, cope with trauma and enhance self-awareness. Songwriting, in particular, is a fantastic outlet for self expression and creativity.
We highly encourage anyone interested to reach out to us about our Music Therapy recovery programs. They have done wonders for our patients and, with a program leader like Marlee at the helm, can build confidence, positivity and a strong desire to stay sober.