Psychiatrists from Cambridge University claim that hip-hop therapy – the purposeful use of Hip-Hop culture in a therapeutic relationship – can help people who are depressed or mentally ill cope with their corresponding conditions.
In an article published in The Lancet Psychiatry, this team of researchers says that lyrics that speak of overcoming struggles and difficult conditions offer a form of refuge for the desperate.
“Much of hip-hop comes from areas of great socioeconomic deprivation, so it’s inevitable that its lyrics will reflect the issues faced by people brought up in these areas,” says Dr. Akeem Sule, a mental health counselor from the University of Cambridge. “Hip-hop artists use their skills and talents not only to describe the world they see, but also as a means of breaking free. There’s often a message of hope in amongst the lyrics…”
The team says this therapeutic technique is similar to “positive visual imagery.” Here, the patient is encouraged to use the power of their imagination to help them get past difficult times.
African American Therapists are conducting more studies on the whole process of hip-hop therapy and how it can be made more effective.
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