Taylor Swift is an enigma. The country singer turned pop princess is extremely popular for reasons that range from her music to her breakups. But can her music now be counted as therapy?
According to one expert, Simon A. Rego, director of the cognitive behavioral therapy training program at the Montefiore Medical Center, Taylor Swift’s music can be therapeutic.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a kind of talk therapy that is aimed towards changing the way you think in order to identify the root cause of your emotional distress.
He spoke with MTV about Swift's magic therapy songs, referring mostly to her 1989 single Shake It Off.
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He said the lyrics “I keep cruisin’/Can’t stop, won’t stop moving,” work as a “behavioral principle.”
In a nutshell, Rego believes that the singer’s narrative is saying something along the lines of “I’m going to focus on moving on to what’s important in my life or things that I value or goals that I have,” regardless of any “chitter-chatter or buzz around.”
“That’s a behavioral principle that helps point our compass to what’s important despite what life’s throwing us at the moment.”
“It’s like I got this music in my mind saying it’s gonna be alright” also helps clear out our mind fuzzies, the doc said.
“It’s like, she’s got her own hit song in her own head – which is an interesting parallel to this hit song being an inspiration to everyone else – saying she’s going to be alright. That’s a coping thought – it’s a coping strategy, which to me says a lot about the notion in cognitive behavioral therapy about acceptance.”
And because haters and Taylor Swift are bound to be in the same sentence, he said: “We tell our patients all the time, people around you are going to be who they are and unfortunately we often have to deal with people in our lives that are negative.
“The idea is, you don’t have to put your focus externally on those situations, you can turn your lens inward and instead focus on what’s important to you and work on yourself. If you do that, you have much more likelihood of controlling your own thoughts and actions than you ever will controlling the thoughts and actions of the people around you. It’s much better to ‘shake it off.’”
In a world where our brains are wired to pop culture, perhaps this can actually be a good thing. But we certainly didn’t need a therapist to tell us that listening to Taylor Swift music can be therapeutic – otherwise we would have listened to We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together much later in life.
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Check out the ancient wisdom she offers in the video below: