Changing Emotions: The Iso-Moodic Principle

The holidays can bring on a variety of emotions.  Joy, stress, loneliness, dread…the list goes on.  If I had a magic wand I would make sure that everyone felt the joy and excitement that the holiday season can bring.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful?  I have used a technique in my work with older adults to do just that…change their anger to calm, their sadness to joy, their loneliness and feelings of isolation to social connection.  Let me share with you how I did this.

The Iso-Moodic Principle

Are you familiar with the iso-moodic principle?  In a nutshell it is using music to take somebody from one mood to another.  You do this by starting with music that matches the mood the person is exhibiting and slowly move them toward the mood you want them to exhibit by gradually changing the music.  Let me share with you an example from my own work.


Case Study

I had a lady whom I was seeing for music therapy.  She loved music, 50’s and 60’s music to be specific.  Each week we most often sang songs from these decades and she would share memories and thoughts that each song invoked.  While this lady loved music visits, she HATED the days when her aide was there to bathe her and get her ready for her day.  These visits from the aide often sparked extreme anger, foul language, and overall discontentment for all involved.

One day, I walked into my resident’s room just AFTER the aide had visited.  I was not expecting the behavior and mood I witnessed from her.  I used the Iso-Moodic Principle to move her from anger and rage to the playful, joyful, music lover I was used to.

In this case, I began singing her favorite songs in a loud, percussive and very energetic way to match her current mood.   Slowly I changed the mood of each song to move her to a calmer state of mind.  As the process continued I watched my resident go from rage to joy during our visit.  By the time we were finished she was once again smiling and laughing and in a place of calm.   

This holiday season will probably bring on a variety of moods in the people you care for.  If you would like to try this technique. here is a video I did with more information.

Leave a Reply