Local therapist using hip-hop to change lives

PHL17 News

Philadelphia native Ronald Crawford is changing lives one hip-hop song at a time

He’s had it rough. 

“Came from foster care, mom gave me up for adoption at three months old, didn’t know about that until I was eight years old, went back to her, still abused me,” said Darryl Reid. 

All that trauma affected Darryl Reid so much he turned to drugs and eventually ended up in prison. 

“I come from using heroin, taking pills,” said Reid. 

While he was working to get clean, he found therapy and its made him a new man. It’s not your standard program, it’s called Hip-Hop Psycho Ed. 

“I still listen to hip-hop music today with the gray beard, loud music in the car, that’s how I grew up,” he said. 

Therapist Ronald Crawford founded the local Philadelphia based program. 

“A therapeutic intervention where I provide people psycho-education about their mental health challenges, I just integrate hip hop culture—the music, the themes, some of the commonalities of people, poverty living in dangerous environments, fatherlessness, substance issue disorder, and peoples experience of trauma,” said Crawford. 

They meet in groups listen to and analyze hip-hop music and figure out how it relates to their lives both positively and negatively. 

“Pick your favorite song, and it could be the most misogynistic song that I’ve ever heard but I’m going to ask you in therapy why do you like that song, tell me why its important to you, tell me why that resonates with you,” said Crawford.  “In a discussion like that you can help people change their values and if they change their values, they could possibly change their behavior.” 

Crawford’s sessions usually attract Black men, a group he says has typically stayed away from therapy because of the stigma.  

It was the same for Reid until he gave it a chance and that chance changed his life. He’s been clean for three years. 

“It’s amazing how when you just change your frame of thinking or the way you perceive or the way you see things how you grow,” said Reid. 

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