Client-centered Therapy Counseling Therapy

Holiday Entertainment For the Emotions

Music, Film, Art, Psychology, Emotional Well Being

Use art and activity to help you reflect on the year. And have a sleepy, zen kitty!
Use art and activity to help you reflect on the year. And have a sleepy, zen kitty!

After hearing Rudolf the Red-nosed Reindeer for the tenth time, perhaps you’re ready to listen to something more than nostalgic winter holiday classics!

The month of December is the perfect time for reviewing the year past, and yet it can dredge up a variety of memories and emotions that need both time and attention. Perhaps there was that breakup earlier in the year. An argument with an old friend that never got resolved. A tough break with an employer. Chronic battles with illness, financial stress, or a disappointment could leave you shaky and emotionally fatigued.

Because many of us receive some time off for the holidays, it’s an excellent opportunity to think about these events and take inventory with how you’re doing. One of the methods that I have recommended to my clients over the years is to try a little music, film, and art therapy (reading lists are reconsidered in June for summertime reading).

For my final blogpost for 2014, here’s my very short list of ideas, songs, films, and artistically-minded activities that may give you the emotional space to do your best thinking and feeling. Thanks to Atta Dawahare for helping me flesh out this idea; perhaps we’ll turn this into an annual post and keep adding more things each year!

We hope you have a Happy, Healthy, and thoughtful Holiday time with family and friends, and a Happy New Year! If you are thinking of starting therapy sessions for the first time and we don’t have room for you on our remaining December schedules, we’ll be back by January 5, 2015.

Disclaimer: All links are clickable and lead you to Youtube or a video/music, or venue site. I am not advertising these artists or activities in exchange for commission on purchases.


For Your Listening Pleasure

Songs about breakups and makeups, lost loveMy Thief (Elvis Costello and Burt Bacharach)

Lover, You Should’ve Come Over (Jeff Buckley)

Songs about forgiveness – She is Spirit (Monopony)

Songs about Death – Tears in Heaven (Eric Clapton)

Hopeful Love Songs Silly Love Songs (Paul McCartney & Wings


For Viewing

Suffering and ForgivenessRailroad Man (Colin Firth, Nicole Kidman) Trailer

Everything and Nothing (aka life) Inside Llewyn Davis (features music by T Bone Burnett!)

Love, Loss, Tough Choices The Wind Rises (animated, Ghibli Studio)

On Eating and the Food Industry – Food Inc. (food and health)


Artful Activities

Learn to Draw – A Three Eyed Monster (tutorial)

Learn to Knit – A Scarf (beginner tutorial)


Learn to Dance — Here, I highly recommend going to your local city or town dance centers and picking a beginner class. Decide if you want to learn a partner dance or solo style

Learn to Swim – I highly recommend the TI (Total Immersion) method and/or taking private lessons to learn this graceful style of freestyle swimming. . Of course, you will need a swimming pool in the cool winter months, unless you’re like a few of my friends who insist on swimming “in the wild” all-year around!

I will release a “summer reads” book list next year, as I have too many books to suggest. For the holidays, I hope you get a chance to read stories to your children, and read beyond the usual news and blogs.

By Imei Hsu

Imei Hsu is a mental health counselor, active retired RN, AIP Coach and PN1-NC, writer, triathlete and arts promoter in the Seattle area and through online services. With 30+ years in healthcare (22+ years in mental health), Imei has a commitment to helping people discover insight into their health, relationships, and connecting. She is the owner of Seattle Direct Counseling and the blog, a presenter and speaker on a variety of psychological topics, and a positive force on the Internet. She launched her personal project, My Allergy Advocate, in 2018. Imei is a two-time Ironman Finisher (Mont-Tremblant 2016, Ironman Canada 2018); she also finished her first ultramarathon in 2017 and has gone on to race the 100K distance while preparing for 100 Mile trail races and a backyard ultra. You can find her running everywhere and eating all the thingz, watching movies, camping under the stars, and cooking real food.

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