If you’ve been following the WH blog for the past few years you know that I love to incorporate rapping into my sessions with tween and teen clients.

I use rapping to help clients explore their emotions, increase communication skills, and facilitate self-expression.

It can be as simple as giving a prompt or sentence starter, providing a hip hop beat, and allowing clients the space to create.

Last week at Children’s Resources Educational Center (a school in Miami where I provide services for children with special needs), I facilitated this experience using the sentence starter “I know I can ____________.”

We started off by discussing what this meant in concrete terms: things they’re good at, things they like to do, things they’re sure of.

Then, I started a hip hop beat and prompted each client to complete the sentence starters on paper:


The 2nd and 3rd graders wrote things like:

I know I can…eat pizza
I know I can…play on the playground
I know I can…give hugs
I know I can…eat tacos

Their answers were simple and concrete.

I’ve also facilitated this experience with teen clients and gotten some very different answers. With this age group we were able to dig a little deeper (I wrote more about that here).

They wrote things like:

I know I can…be a friend to others even if I’m scared
I know I can…face my fear of talking
I know I can…face my problems

Giving clients the space and opportunity to express themselves is a critical component of this musical experience.

Using a hip hop beat as clients create and perform provides rhythmic grounding and organizes the experience. It also makes clients feel like they’re creating an authentic-sounding piece of work. I wrote my own rap and performed it in front of the teen clients and let me tell you, I was surprised by how nervous I felt (more about that next week)!

If you want to learn more about how to facilitate rapping with your clients, I go into detail in my E-Resource Rap Pack for Teens (which includes an E-Book + Mp3s) and my E-Course Tune In To Teens. I’d love for you to check out these resources if you work with teens, school age children, adults, or any other clinical population that might benefit from this type of musical experience: