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Podcast: Using Music to Spark Your Inner Hero

Are you a badass?  Do you want to be? We all know that music has the ability to affect mood, and today’s guest takes that to the next level by helping you craft a personalized playlist to evoke specific feelings and emotions.  Kelly Orchard’s unique program could help you find your inner badass. Using music and a variety of psychotherapy tools, Kelly helps individuals and groups become more confident, more productive and most importantly, more badass.


Guest information for ‘Badass’ Podcast Episode

Kelly Orchard is a professional speaker, author and trainer and Licensed Psychotherapist. In addition to more than 30 years in the business of broadcasting, she has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Science with an emphasis in Organizational Leadership. Kelly specializes in working with businesses and individuals in times of trouble, turmoil and transition,  by creating a positive and profitable workplace.  Kelly’s strategic coaching and leadership tools are a reliable, repeatable process that has been proven in the workplace.  Kelly is a powerful story-teller – a craft she honed with her three decades in radio as part of family-owned operation, FCC Compliance consulting, and visiting hundreds of broadcast facilities.  She is the author of 5 books, including her Prescriptive Memoir, Heart Lessons and her series of self-help books, Kelly Orchard’s Apple A Day, for daily nourishment for wisdom, success and personal growth.

About The Psych Central Podcast Host

Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and speaker who lives with bipolar disorder. He is the author of the popular book, Mental Illness is an Asshole and other Observations, available from Amazon; signed copies are also available directly from Gabe Howard. To learn more, please visit his website,

Computer Generated Transcript for ‘Music HeroEpisode

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.

Announcer: Welcome to the Psych Central Podcast, where each episode features guest experts discussing psychology and mental health in everyday plain language. Here’s your host, Gabe Howard.

Gabe Howard: Welcome to this week’s episode of the Psych Central Podcast. Calling into the show today we have Kelly Orchard, who uses her psychology education and her experience in radio to help people create their own badass soundtrack. In her own words, she uses a CBT, solutions focused, positive psychology, and neuroscience approach to helping people live better lives. Kelly, welcome to the show.

Kelly Orchard: Thank you so much, Gabe. I am thrilled to be here today.

Gabe Howard: I am thrilled to have you because I think that you might be the first licensed psychologist that I’ve ever worked with, that named what she does “badass.” Just the word badass is right there and I love that. Can you tell me why you decided to do that?

Kelly Orchard: Well, you know, my background is in radio. You know, you do a lot of stunts. You do a lot of things to create a buzz and get your name out there. And so, you know, becoming a psychotherapist, I do some stuff with my branding and whatnot, which we can talk about later. But I’ve always been called a badass. People have referred to me as, “Man, Kelly, you’re really badass.” I knew that it meant something significant. And so I decided, well, I want to work with badasses. So that’s how it first evolved, it was that I want to work with people who identify with that whole concept of themselves.

Gabe Howard: One of the primary reasons that I wanted to have you on the show is because I wrote a book called Mental Illness Is an Asshole and I got a lot of pushback. You know, they’re like, oh, that that’s that, you know, this is this is serious. Why are you talking about that? Why are you saying ass? They were always kind of whispering. And my reasoning for that was because I felt very strongly that when people lay awake at night, they’re not worried about themselves in psychological terms. They’re not thinking medically. They’re thinking in the words that all of us use. Did that have an effect on you? I mean, because people do want to be badasses. They don’t necessarily know that they want to be emotionally well off.

Kelly Orchard: That’s a good point. A really good point. But you’re right. Yes. A little bit of blowback when I first started toying with using the word. But the more I just kind of put it out there, anybody who had an adverse response to the word badass usually typically either, you know, the older generation and they’re used to you know, everything is polite and nicely worded. And you don’t use that kind of word. We can use my mom as an example. She’s very opposed to this. But she’s also in her 80s. Mostly, the response has been fantastic. I get where you’re coming from. It’s like Mental Illness is an Asshole. You’re absolutely right. So why not identify it that way? It is serious, but we can also kind of identify it enough in a way that we understand it.

Gabe Howard: Does this open up avenues of conversation for you? Are people much more willing to discuss their issues or concerns or problems when they know that they’re on the road to becoming a badass vs. considering themselves in like a patient modality?

Kelly Orchard: Well, you know, I work with two separate populations with that. In my psychotherapy practice, I do promote the badass acronym with my clients and they love it because they’re already in a program admitting that they have depression or anxiety. That’s primarily what I treat, along with comorbid issues like a long term chronic illness or stuff like that, maybe grief and loss. But in the general population, I would call that, like in the business community, yes, they love defining themselves as badass and being on the road to becoming licensed to be badass. When I say I certify badasses, they’re like, well, how can I get certified? I want that. It opens up the conversation on what it takes.

Gabe Howard: Which is where we want to be. We want people talking about this more. Now, you said that badass was an acronym. 

Kelly Orchard: Yes.

Gabe Howard: What does badass stand for?

Kelly Orchard: I’ve taken a blend of some of these psychotherapeutic tools, you know, cognitive behavioral therapy, that’s the CBT, and some neuroscience, solution focused that I use and I put them into a program. So BADASS is an acronym. So the B stands for “Be bold, be brave, be confident, be yourself.” But if you don’t know yourself, how can you be yourself? So I teach different methods on how to really get in touch with who you are. Personality tests and temperament tests, and what are your strengths getting into your core values. Things like that.

Gabe Howard: And that’s just the B.

Kelly Orchard: That’s just the B, yes.

Gabe Howard: That’s just the B.

Kelly Orchard: That’s just the B.

Gabe Howard: The B, and then we then we move on to the first A.

Kelly Orchard: Right.

Gabe Howard: Because there are a lot of A’s in here.

Kelly Orchard: Well, there’s a couple of A’s. The first A stands for “Attitude is everything.” Because I’m sure, Gabe, you and I both know that a positive attitude will get you a whole lot further than a negative attitude. 

Gabe Howard: Agreed.

Kelly Orchard: Part of what I teach is to flip that format on the negativity and increase positivity because your attitude determines your success. So there’s some tools that I use in how to create that positive attitude. Then the D in BADASS stands for “Decide.” Because, you know, that’s a big critical factor. You have to decide that you want to be well and you have to make that decision to do it. And so then we go through, you know, being determined and dedicated to the process and disciplined.

Gabe Howard: And then we get to the next A, right? We get to A number two.

Kelly Orchard: Yes, A number two that stands for “Awareness” or self-awareness. I teach a lot about emotional intelligence. Being aware of your surroundings, being aware of your feelings and your emotions at the moment, and then of course, acknowledging your weaknesses and your strengths. I also do a lot with “Amplify,” because I love to use music in my programs and then the first S is “Stay the course.” This is where a lot of us get hung up. If what we want doesn’t happen quickly enough, we give up. So this teaches you to stay the course and persevere and keep going. And I teach different ways how you can do that. And then, of course, the last S just means “Successfully BADASS.” So that’s the BADASS acronym. And so I have have a program that I just take them through the process so they get their license to be badass. You know, when you got your driver’s license, it felt pretty badass. Right?

Gabe Howard: Yeah, I did. It felt awesome.

Kelly Orchard: It did. It felt so awesome. So anybody can relate to that when you get your driver’s license. But the truth of the matter is that you’d already studied. You already knew the rules of the road and took the tests in order to pass to get your permit. Then you already got behind the wheel and practiced driving so that then you had some competence behind the wheel. So when you went to go take your license exam, you already knew all this information. But the license gave you credibility. It gave you confidence. So I take that whole concept into the badass program. You’re probably already badass because you’ve been through the storms of life. You’ve failed, you’ve lost something like a home, a job or a relationship. You stumble, you’ve had a health crisis, whatever it is. You’ve overcome it. You’ve gotten through it. And you’re badass because you’re not quitting. All you need is your license to give you the confidence and credibility to keep going.

Gabe Howard: So let’s be practical for a moment. So let’s say that I contact you and I say, you know, I’m anxious or I’m depressed. There’s something in my life that I don’t like. And I’m intrigued by becoming a licensed badass. What is my step one?

Kelly Orchard: The badass program starts out with I teach a workshop to get you certified, so that’s a badass certification class and think of it like CPR for your mental health, an instant attitude adjustment and then an injection of positivity to get you started. And that’s where I introduce and initially teach you how to create your badass soundtrack, which I already have used this several times and it’s proven to be really a great tool for an instant reduction of anxiety symptoms or improving the mood or confidence. So that’s where I usually start.

Gabe Howard: What’s interesting to me is you don’t actually get a license to be a badass. I mean, the state doesn’t send you a laminated card that you can show police officers when you’re driving your Ferrari. But when you say you create a soundtrack that helps with symptom reduction, that’s not an analogy. 

Kelly Orchard: No.

Gabe Howard: You’re actually utilizing music on on devices that we all have in our pockets right now to find songs that speak to the person that help them feel better. I think that everybody understands that music is helpful, but nobody’s actually utilizing music to be helpful.

Kelly Orchard: Well, that’s why I think that my program is starting to really catch fire as people are starting to discover it. I’m actually even working with a licensed music therapist on this as well. Getting back to the whole, you don’t really get a license. The state doesn’t, no, but I do. When you do finish that certification class, I do give you a little I.D. card that fits in your wallet that says you’re a certified badass. It’s kind of cool. 

Gabe Howard: Nice,

Kelly Orchard: Stick it by your driver’s license. So that’s fun. A nice daily affirmation. Every time you open up your wallet, you’re reminded. Oh, yeah, that’s right. I’m a certified badass. It’s awesome.

Gabe Howard: Sweet.

Kelly Orchard: And then when they go through my full program and they get to the end of it, I do send them like a diploma. It looks like an actual college degree diploma that says licensed to be badass with your name on it. So that’s part of the fun part, yes. Is it recognized by the state? No. I think you can put on your resume for sure though, you know.

Gabe Howard: That’s awesome.

Kelly Orchard: Yeah. Yeah. But the badass soundtrack. You know, I can say I discovered it doing some of my own psychotherapy work on myself, a little self-care and how I discovered this is, I got a new car and the car came with satellite radio. Now I’m a terrestrial radio girl. I’m a second generation broadcaster, so I would never pay for satellite radio. But while you have it, why not use it? So while I’m driving around in the car, I would scan through all these satellite radio programming that I could get and the stations. And I discovered the 70s on seven channels. Some of these songs you never hear any more because this format. Radio formats are all split up or you may not have access to them in your own streaming device or not even seek to go back to that particular genre, which for me was years of my childhood. So it’s starting to stir up memories as I’m hearing these songs, reminding me of an event that was going on or a timeframe in my life. And that’s what sort of prompted me and introduced me to hey, there’s something to this because I was going through a period of grief and working on some very personal struggles. But the music was making me feel better. And so I went back into some of my studies. And I loved studying neuroscience. And, you know, in 2009, there was a study by the National Institute of Health.

Kelly Orchard: They did a study on people practicing gratitude, writing in a gratitude journal. They did the study and found that the people who practice gratitude, their hypothalamus, was really fired up. And that’s the organ in our brain that regulates our hormones and our stress levels. And they said that these people had lowered stress levels due to the fact that they were practicing gratitude. Well, it’s the same hormone as you do when you have happy memories and nostalgia. So I thought, well, why not put together a badass soundtrack with songs that you personally can attach to a happy memory, that when you allow yourself, getting back to one of the A’s in BADASS, when you allow it to work for you, it can be an instant change of your mindset, like changing the radio station or, you know, flipping the format. And I started testing it out on some of my clients because I knew it worked for me. Tested that on some of my clients, works great for them, created a class. Now I’m teaching people how to do this by utilizing neuroscience, cognitive behavioral therapy, going back and doing some nostalgia and reminiscing, which is part of where the narrative comes in. And then the solutions focus. Now, what are we gonna do with it if this works? Let’s do more of it. So it does prove to be an instant attitude adjustment. You’re right.

Gabe Howard: We’ll be right back after this message.

Announcer: This episode is sponsored by Secure, convenient, and affordable online counseling. Our counselors are licensed, accredited professionals. Anything you share is confidential. Schedule secure video or phone sessions, plus chat and text with your therapist whenever you feel it’s needed. A month of online therapy often costs less than a single traditional face to face session. Go to and experience seven days of free therapy to see if online counseling is right for you.

Gabe Howard: And we’re back speaking with Kelly Orchard about how to become a licensed badass. Kelly, I just have to know what is on your badass soundtrack.

Kelly Orchard: I’ll tell you one story that is really funny to me. And thank you for asking. So I was sharing the concept with a colleague of mine. In fact, he was my mentor as I was working toward getting licensed. So I respect him highly. He is also a professional musician, a guitar player. So we have that musical connection as well. So we’re sharing this with him, and he asked me the same thing. So what’s on your soundtrack? And I tell him, Joy to the World from the Three Dog Night, which is a song from the 70s.

Gabe Howard: Yeah.

Kelly Orchard: He looks at me because he’s a serious guitarist. He goes, Why? That’s not a badass song. I’m like, well, it maybe doesn’t make you feel badass. But it has, it means something to me. You know, we said when we had our radio station, we were an oldies station for a while. It was a family run radio station. And my brothers and I were also on the air. And so one of my brothers was doing the morning show and, you know, with a radio formatting, not everybody you hear on the air actually is in the studio, or works at the studio. You have, you know, you have different segments. Somebody will call in. So, for example, we subscribe to a traffic segment. So this gentleman would call in to do the traffic. And there was always some sort of a bumper of music. You know, in between the segments. So the traffic director’s name was David Jeremiah. And so my brother would play the song to the opening of Three Dog Night. He says, All right, everybody, we’ve got the traffic director. David, my good friend David, and it goes right into the lyrics, “Jeremiah was a bullfrog, was a good friend of mine.” And so for me, that reminds me of a really fun time when my family owned a radio station. Remember I told you when I first discovered the badass soundtrack, I was going through some of my own grief work. The brother that we were singing the song Joy to the World with, he passed away a few years ago. I was working through the process of grieving my brother. So when this song came up and it triggered that memory, of course it made me happy. And it reminded me of my brother and it had to make it on to my badass soundtrack.

Gabe Howard: Of course, I’m sorry to hear about your brother, but what’s interesting is, you know, to me, when you first started talking about a badass soundtrack, I was thinking of like all the, you know, the strong bass line and the upbeat music. And it sounds like the way that you pick these songs are things that elicit strong memories and strong happy memories. Not necessarily, you know, the boom, boom, boom, boom, you know, the things that get you excited to go to a sporting event.

Kelly Orchard: Right.

Gabe Howard: Is that true?

Kelly Orchard: Well, you know, basically what you’re doing is you’re stirring up different types of emotions which are sparking off different neurotransmitters in your brain, that dopamine in the serotonin levels. So depends on what it is that you need. If you need confidence, I’ve got a song for myself that builds that builds my confidence. It’s a reminder of a time I stood up for myself or I won. So, yes, I do encourage you to utilize those lyrics and those words that pump you up. But it’s much a different playlist. It’s going to help you with your workout or going to a sporting event is going to be completely different than one that’s going to help you reduce the symptoms of anxiety or improve your mindset or give you the confidence you need to walk into a meeting or have the conversation that you need to have with somebody different. So it’s just a matter of how you strategize it. And I do teach. I go through the steps on how to get to that point. It’s a fun. It’s a fun exercise. So when I tell clients it’s like to do your homework, it’s like who would will not want to do the homework for this — sampling music?

Gabe Howard: So you assign this to your clients, to your patients, you say what I want you to do is go home and make a badass soundtrack. What instructions do you give them?

Kelly Orchard: It really depends on, you know, who is there in my psychotherapy practice. One song at a time because I only see them. I don’t see them again for a week. When I teach my workshop. I have a whole section dedicated just for that. And I teach them basically how to stir up some memories. You can’t put the cart before the horse. You know, it’s like I can’t expect them to have these memories before they hear the music. It’s the music that usually triggers the memory. Right. That makes them feel good. So like, for example, that this is one of my first go-to ones is getting back to driving. Getting back to when you had your driver’s license. What was the first car that you were driving around? So then they’ll talk about the car that they drove around. Then the next step, the next question is what music might you have been listening to when you were that age and driving around in your car? Well, the next thing you know, they’re talking about the music of that era of when they were probably 16, 17, 18 years old, which is when your memories are really starting to take hold and you want to remember them. The ones that make you feel bad ass, such as graduating from high school, your first road trip, your first prom, falling in love, getting an A on a test. Getting your driver’s license. Things like that. So then I take them through that process of the first car, and then we start sampling the music of that era. And then once we start sampling a little bit of music here and there, then I’d say find one song that represents that particular incident. Like they’ll still tell a story. But I remember when my friends took a road trip up the coast in. What song were you guys been listening to on that road trip? And they find this song. Then they have that. Then they add it to their bed. That soundtrack helps them feel independent, autonomous, grown up.

Gabe Howard: How often should they listen to this soundtrack? And the reason that I ask specifically is because it just seems like if it’s going to work and make you feel better, just never turn it off. Just let it play 24/7. But but but obviously that’s that’s not going to work. So it it seems like there’s probably criteria for when it will work and when it won’t. And also kind of as a follow up question to that, we don’t want to not handle our issues because we’re too busy listening to music. And I know that’s not your intent.

Kelly Orchard: Yeah, that’s not the intent, and I appreciate you saying that. So first of all, how often should you listen to it? As often as you would need to have that positive mindset. You know, it’s like, well, we talk about you practice positive thoughts, gratitude. They’ll help you get through the day. But it’s not a matter of being Pollyanna. This is actually changing the brain chemistry. So when you think about it as often as you do it, it’s kind of like working out, you know, exercising your muscles while your brain’s a muscle, too. So the more you do it, the more it’s going to benefit you. But the benefit is it’s not like listening to music all the time to make you feel better. It’s actually the positivity that changing your brain chemistry is giving you an opportunity to see things in a different perspective and get fresh ideas to the solution to the problems that you have. So like for me, example, is if I’m having a stressful situation, I know that thinking about it and worrying about it isn’t gonna do anything. But if I listen to a song that’s going to shift my mindset, I’ll probably come up with a better answer to solve that problem. Either that or it’s going to resolve itself because, well, the song just told me that I got through this problem. I can get through this one, too. So that’s kind of what the soundtrack will do for you. I also cut it down and we break it down into different segments of your life. So at any given time, there should be at least 40 to 50 songs on your soundtrack. So there’s 20 different songs that you can play. So plan is not to get desensitized to certain songs. So having a decent soundtrack but listening as often as you’d like the same as when you go out for a walk as often as you want, write in your journal as many times as you need to practice gratitude all day long. You know, it’s like you can always flip back and forth.

Gabe Howard: And just to clarify, the music is supposed to spur action. The music isn’t the action. It’s supposed to get you pumped up to be active, to face the challenge and to be a badass, because after all, nobody can be a badass if they’re sitting at home listening to music. Right.

Kelly Orchard: Well, they really depends because, you know, part of that part of the badass is that in order for us to have fresh ideas, it’s like not to be busy all the time. So sometimes you just need to relax and even allow yourself to get bored because that’s when the fresh ideas come up in. The brainstorms really start to happen in your brain’s like free to do those things. But you’re right, it is to spur action. You know, I had a client who acknowledged that her life as a child was complete chaos. And, you know, the perspective was that she’d had a horrible upbringing and couldn’t really reconcile with that and couldn’t talk to her mother anymore because the mother had died. So we started working on about our soundtrack and got to some of the music that she listened to in her childhood. And when she rediscovered a song from the Go-Go’s, it took her back to a time period where she and her little friend would play, dance and dress up in the bedroom, even though everything was crazy going on outside that room. The two of them had that feeling of safety and bonding in a bedroom. And it helped her to reframe some of her childhood experiences just because of one song. So that’s how it can be helpful. It’s just a new method that I’ve been developing.

Gabe Howard: It sounds very, very cool. And again, I don’t think that anybody is surprised by the idea that music can take you on an emotional journey.

Kelly Orchard: Oh, no.

Gabe Howard: And your connection of using music for that emotional journey and then harnessing that to move forward in your life. I really think it’s just common sense. Right. So it’s amazing that it took so long to come up with it. But I’m glad that you did. And I think that our listeners are gonna be better off for it. Speaking of which, where can our listeners find you?

Kelly Orchard: Well, I have a Web site which is, and it’s the number two, not the word to,, and find me there. I’m on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. I’m everywhere on social media. I also have a podcast, Kelly Orchard’s Apple a Day listed on Apple, i-Tunes Stitcher and Spotify. Also a YouTube channel. Oh, my gosh. Almost forgot that.

Gabe Howard: What’s the YouTube channel?

Kelly Orchard: The YouTube channel is my name. Kelly Orchard. I have a little fun series that I do. I also drive a 2006 Mustang, so I’ve been doing little videos inside the car with people called Mustang Monday, Badass Tips from the Street so you can catch the videos on my YouTube channel.

Gabe Howard: Nice.

Kelly Orchard: Yeah, they’re just a little short, brief ones, business, mental health, personal development, me a conversation with somebody else in my car. Carpool. Karaoke for mental health.

Gabe Howard: Carpool karaoke for mental health. Well, I love it. Well, thank you so much, Kelly, for hanging out with us. I really appreciate it.

Kelly Orchard: Gabe it was truly an honor.

Gabe Howard: Thank you and everybody else, do you want to interact with the show on Facebook, suggest topics, comment on the show or be the first to get updates? You can join our Facebook group. A quick link is psych central dot com slash f B show. And as I ask every week, I’m basically pleading at this point. I would consider it a personal favor if you told a friend, referred us on social media, emailed somebody or hey, just left us a review. Give us as many stars as possible and use your words to tell people why they should listen. And remember, you can get one week of free, convenient, affordable, private online counseling anytime, anywhere, simply by visiting our sponsor. Better help dot com slash psych central. We will see everybody next week. 

Announcer: You’ve been listening to the Psych Central Podcast. Previous episodes can be found at or on your favorite podcast player. To learn more about our host, Gabe Howard, please visit his website at is the internet’s oldest and largest independent mental health website run by mental health professionals. Overseen by Dr. John Grohol, offers trusted resources and quizzes to help answer your questions about mental health, personality, psychotherapy, and more. Please visit us today at If you have feedback about the show, please email Thank you for listening and please share widely.

Podcast: Using Music to Spark Your Inner Hero

The Psych Central Podcast

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APA Reference
Central Podcast, T. (2019). Podcast: Using Music to Spark Your Inner Hero. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 24 Oct 2019 (Originally: 24 Oct 2019)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 24 Oct 2019
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