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1.the suppression or prohibition of any parts of books, films, news, etc. that are considered obscene, politically unacceptable, or a threat to security.


A Survey Exploring the Current State of Censorship in Adult Psychiatric Music Therapy Practice

Kendall Joplin, MME, MT-BC, Abbey Dvorak, PhD, MT-BC


The purpose of this study was to investigate current censorship practices and beliefs of music therapists working in adult mental health settings. The research questions included: (a) What music, or elements of music, do music therapists censor during music therapy sessions? (b) If music therapists censor, what are their reasons for censoring? The participants for this study were board-certified music therapists (N = 42) who completed an online survey investigating their current censorship practices. Censorship in music therapy practice was broadly defined as music therapists refraining from using or redirecting clients away from using certain lyrics, themes, songs, or genres of music before (i.e., therapist planning), during (i.e., therapist facilitating), and/or after (i.e., censoring clients’ music or verbalizations after they have been stated) expression. The majority of respondents (78.57%) censor at least one musical element, including themes (69.05%), lyrics (66.67%), and genres (16.67%). Reasons for censorship revolved around issues with treatment, including other group members’ responses, client comfortableness, emotional distress, self-esteem, and negative impact on the therapeutic relationship. However, approximately 25% reported that personal beliefs affected censorship, such as their comfort with the content, religious beliefs, and believing the client cannot benefit in any way from hearing the music. Further research needs to be conducted on the impact of lyrics, themes, and genres on client outcomes and the effect of censorship on the therapeutic relationship in music therapy practice.

Depending on music to feel better: Being conscious of responsibility when appropriating the power of music

Katrina Skewes McFerran, Suvi Saarikallio


This study explores the beliefs held by young people about the power of music to help them feel better during challenging times. Participants included 40 young Australians, aged 13–20, who described their relationship with music and were progressively asked to recall times where music had not been helpful as well as when the consequences of engaging in music had been beneficial. Grounded theory analysis generated a theoretical explanation of why young people's beliefs about the positive consequences of music are so strong, even though the experience of young people with mental health problems sometimes contradicts these views. Implications for professionals are offered; with a particular emphasis on the importance of young people accepting responsibility for the ways they appropriate music in contrast to seeing the music as the source of power.

We're Free: The Impact of a Rap Writing Music Therapy Intervention on Self-Esteem of At-Risk Adolescents in a Public Middle School Setting

Jessica L. Schlabach


The negative behaviors displayed by adolescents who are at-risk can have detrimental effects on society. Developmentally appropriate, engaging treatments that adolescents enjoy may be the most successful as preventative interventions. The purpose of this study was to investigate rap writing as a possible treatment intervention to improve self-esteem of at-risk adolescents. A convergent, mixed methods design was used to provide qualitative insight into quantitative results. Quantitative measures include the Rosenberg Self-Esteem Scale and a frequency count of low self-esteem behaviors. Qualitative measures included a thematic analysis of a post study questionnaire, a session transcription, and lyrics written by the participants. The results of this study suggest that rap writing had some positive effect on the self-esteem of three at-risk middle school boys. Participants perceived rap writing as a fun activity that increased confidence and satisfaction

Rap Music and the Empowerment of Today’s Youth: Evidence in Everyday Music Listening, Music Therapy, and Commercial Rap Music

Raphael Travis, Jr. 


Pioneers of various elements of Hip-Hop culture have been empowered through the ability to voice their reality and find a meaningful identity alongside others who found purpose and function in embracing Hip-Hop culture (Chang, Can’t stop won’t stop: A history of the hip-hop generation, 2005). This empowerment persists in various reinventions of the culture within the United States and worldwide. The present study examines whether evidence exists in research to support the value of esteem, resilience, growth, community and change as empowering dimensions outlined in the individual and community empowerment framework. Research questions ask: (1) Does youth self-expression in rap music created within music therapy sessions reflect framework dimensions? (2) Does content in commercially recognizable rap music reflect framework dimensions? (3) How well does the framework align with a model of empowerment-based positive youth development? First, data collected to examine the validity of the framework were reviewed. Next, two peer-reviewed research studies published after articulation of the original framework, were examined to investigate commonality between themes and framework dimensions. One study was in a music therapy context and another explored themes in commercial Hip-Hop recordings. Original framework data supports theorizing that rap music content actually comprises developmental narratives (Travis and Deepak, 2011; Travis and Bowman, 2012). Data in the present study further suggest that these developmental narratives are relevant for Hip-Hop in every day music engagement, in therapeutic self-expression, and within commercially available musical content. Framework dimensions also aligned with a conceptual model of positive youth development that allows specification of intervention pathways and empirically testable outcomes for Hip-Hop integrated change strategies. Results suggest that rap music is a discourse in lifespan development. Rap music’s developmental narratives may be used by practitioners, parents and researchers. The narratives exist within a framework and model that (a) provides a template for better understanding these narratives and (b) positions this understanding for use as a tool to promote and research positive change strategies for individuals and the communities that they value.

Hip Hop Therapy: An Exploratory Study of a Rap Music Intervention with At-Risk and Delinquent Youth1

Edgar H. Tyson, MSW


This article presents the results of an exploratory study of the therapeutic potential of a rap music intervention in group work with youth. “Hip-Hop Therapy (HHT)” is an innovative synergy of rap music, bibliotherapy, and music therapy. A pretestposttest experimental design with random assignment to groups was used to compare outcomes of youth that attended HHT sessions (n = 5) and youth that attended comparison group therapy sessions (n = 6) at a residential facility for at-risk and delinquent youth. Post-hoc qualitative data are also presented to provide depth to our understanding of the experiences of the youth in the HHT group. Because rap music has become increasingly popular among youth, it was expected that under a specific set of conditions rap music would improve the therapeutic experience and outcomes for youth. Taken together, the quantitative and qualitative results partially supported the hypothesis. Implications for clinical practice, as well as future directions in research are noted.