Sunday, February 26, 2012

Hip-Hop Therapy

In her program Healing Young People Thru Empowerment (H.Y.P.E.), counselor Adia McClellan Winfrey helps troubled teens by incorporating hip-hop into therapy.  In a typical session, participants recite the H.Y.P.E. creed, briefly discuss the topic of the week, turn in their journal reflections from the previous week, and then begin listening to music. After listening to each track, the participants discuss the message behind the song’s lyrics. The participants relate this message to their own lives, using the music as a way to reflect on their problems. According to one of the participants, “the music makes me feel like opening up because I know what [the rapper] went through and where they’re at today. It makes me feel like I can make it through too”.

I think that hip-hop therapy is an excellent idea, and I truly believe that this program can help many teens today. It is often difficult to open up and talk about personal issues, but I think that listening to somebody else do this in a hip-hop track can definitely make it easier. When you hear a song and can relate to the artist’s problems, it encourages you and makes you feel less alone. This is why I think that hip-hop is definitely a great tool that people can use to help them discuss and ultimately work through their issues.

Here is the link to the website for H.Y.P.E. The article that I read is in the middle of the home page. Enjoy!


  1. This is an awesome idea. Incorporating music into therapy isn't a new concept, but using hip hop as the medium is revolutionary. Mainstream media and society would argue that the music being utilized to inspire these troubled teens is probably a piece of what influenced their poor behavior in the first place. By turning the system on its head, Ms. Winfrey has opened up an entirely new realm of youth therapy. I think it's both innovative and daring to disregard the status quo in this way. Mad props to H.Y.P.E and the work that they're doing. And this is a really great find Krysten, nice work!

  2. This is great. I honestly feel that any type of creative expression, whether it be through hip-hop or poetry, theatre or dance, can really stimulate a person's confidence. Many troubled teens feel that the only acceptable option to deal with their problems is to speak to a psychologist and many teens are intimidated by this. I feel that this therapy program is appealing to many teens and will help them open up.

    Great job Krysten!

  3. Using music for therapeutic purposes is not a new concept. However, using hip-hop to relate the lyrics to others' lives is. This is a great idea as many people relate lyrics to their lives already--talking about it especially can help these teens with their problems.

  4. Rap music can definitely be therapeutic. Every song has its message and story behind it, and the only way to truly explore the lyrics is to take the time to listen in a relaxed environment.

    I had never heard of H.Y.P.E. before reading this post, but it seems like they're doing an awesome job.

    In addition to being a form of therapy, I think that Rap music can be a form a tertiary stress-management. More specifically, if a person has a long day, I recommend they take the time to sit down and listen to a relaxing hip hop song. This is a tactic a number of my friends use when they are having a rough week.

    Here is a relaxing, albeit cliché, rap song after a long day:

  5. I absolutely love this idea of hip hop therapy. I personally use music as a stress reliever. music just puts me in another place and helps me forget about my problems. I would love to take part in a class like that. I think we should have something like this on campus to deal with the stress of prelims and stuff of that nature lol.

  6. I loved this piece you wrote on my program H.Y.P.E. and appreciate all the comments! Inspiring our youth to find their voices and advocating for Hip Hop Culture are my life's mission. Much love to you all...
    Dr. Dia


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