Alternative Title

Strengths-based model used with youth in hip hop therapy

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type



School for Social Work


Hip hop-Therapeutic use, Problem youth-Mental health services, Beats Rhymes and Life Inc., Hip hop therapy, Strengths-based, Collaborative learning


The purpose of this study was to examine how the Academy program at Beats, Rhymes, & Life, Inc. (BRL) utilizes a strength-based therapeutic approach. This study focused on identifying facets of a strength-based model utilized by the Academy, and exploring the effect of a strengths-based approach on participants. Using semi-structured interviews with seven current and past Academy members, the study found that the strengths-based approach positively impacted all participants in three distinct ways: (1) Valuing multiple forms of knowledge in a non-hierarchical manner, which included processes related to collaboration, self-directed learning, and use of a multicultural perspective, (2) Honoring client and communities as experts on themselves and capable of healing themselves , which included participants identifying healing processes amongst their community and the impact of healing through art and expression, and (3) Reframing the pathological “at risk” model to a strength-based model of resilience, which included identifying processes related to highlighting personal strengths, reframing youth form “at-risk” to “at-promise” and increasing perceived self-esteem and confidence. Implications for social practice highlight the benefits that a strength-based approach provides for the Academy and provides a template for best practice in therapeutic group based agency work.




iv, 77 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 67-71)

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