What does it take to make an impact with young adults in a way that’s culturally competent, creative, and strengthens the therapeutic alliance? In our May issue, Networker assistant editor Chris Lyford’s article, “Hip Hop Therapy: The Healing Power of Giving Kids the Mic,” gave an intimate glimpse into the groundbreaking work of hip hop therapist and artist J.C. Hall, a social worker at the South Bronx’s Mott Haven Community High School and recent recipient of a Jefferson Award for Public Service.

In the following interview with Lyford, Hall shares how hip hop therapy got its start, what it means to be a hip hop therapist, the best practices he’s learned over the years, and how hip hop therapy “remixes” some of the most effective therapy approaches in use today. 

“A hip hop therapist is like a deejay of therapeutic modalities,” Hall says. “Hip hop therapy is a remix of different therapeutic conceptualizations, a culturally relevant blend that revitalizes the merits of established forms of therapy that might traditionally overlook disenfranchised populations. It’s meeting people on their own cultural turf.”



Chris Lyford

Chris Lyford is the Senior Editor at Psychotherapy Networker. Previously, he was Assistant Director and Editor of the The Atlantic Post, where he wrote and edited news pieces on the Middle East and Africa. He also formerly worked at The Washington Post, where he wrote local feature pieces for the Metro, Sports, and Style sections. Contact: clyford@psychnetworker.org.