Combining Evidence-Based Therapy with Pop Culture Narratives to Heal Clients
Many clients don’t know how to talk about their mental health.
Often, they haven’t learned the vocabulary to describe what they’re going through, and they have difficulty acknowledging and disclosing painful experiences.
Many also carry a deep shame about their struggles with mental health, leaving them feeling isolated and alone.
Clients can even generate a deep mistrust of the mental health system. Even if they do book the appointment, they may, for instance, remain disconnected during sessions, give one-word answers, or ignore exercises and assignments altogether.
In these situations, building a rapport with clients can be challenging. And it can leave practitioners asking:
How can I build the necessary trust to engage in healing work?
This past year, studies have come out showing that people increasingly turned to fictionalized television shows and video games during the pandemic.
During times of struggle, we look to stories for comfort and inspiration. The relationships we form with fictional characters can provide strength and resilience to navigate painful challenges.
For mental health practitioners, this provides a tremendous opportunity…
Because, though it may be difficult for some clients to understand and open up to a complete stranger about the pain in their life, they may be able to talk about it through a parallel metaphor in fiction.
And the sense of connection and “being home” these characters provide in a client’s life can also be sources of support, inspiration, and growth in therapy.
That is the fundamental premise of Superhero Therapy:
By harnessing the connections clients feel to fictionalized stories in their daily lives, practitioners can help them find the language to discuss painful experiences, foster deeper connection, and cultivate active engagement in therapeutic work.
In this way, practitioners can help clients dismantle feelings of shame and loneliness by reframing their challenges as their own “origin story,” empowering them to utilize their strengths to develop psychological skills.
In this live online course, you’ll learn how to incorporate popular culture and interactive games into evidence-based therapies, such as acceptance and commitment therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, and narrative exposure therapy to help clients better manage trauma, anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
You don’t need to be an expert in games and pop culture — your client is the expert.
Dr. Janina Scarlet will show you how to invite them to pull strength from their expertise, passions, and creativity to help themselves through their own struggles. You’ll practice methods for building quick rapport with clients who often feel misunderstood — especially those who deeply identify with pop culture or as gamers.
Over eight interactive sessions, you’ll bring powerful therapeutic techniques — including mindfulness and acceptance, game-based therapy, art therapy, and self-compassion — into a pop culture context that can make therapy fun, engaging, and accessible.
Using the skills you’ll learn in this course, you’ll help your clients draw on their own story to build pathways for self-compassion, overcome shame and isolation, and cultivate deeper relationships with the people in their lives.
Join this exciting online course and gain the tools to help your clients map their own heroic journey.
This training is worth 16 CE credit hours if attended live. While we can only provide CE to those who are present – i.e. logged in – for all live sessions, Praxis webinars are recorded for later viewing. Registrants may access these recordings at any time for up to nine months from the conclusion of the training to which they pertain.
Prior to registering, please click here to review speaker-planner conflict of interest disclosures and complete CE information.
Session 1 | February 8, 2023, 12 PM—2 PM EST
- Introduction to Superhero Therapy
- Formulation and processing of an origin story
Session 2 | February 15, 2023, 12 PM—2 PM EST
- Learning to select a heroic role model and establishing heroic core values
- Create a treatment plan using Superhero Therapy
Session 3 | February 22, 2023, 12 PM—2 PM EST
- Introduction to game-based therapy
- Interactive role-playing game demonstration
Session 4 | March 1, 2023, 12 PM—2 PM EST
- Recruiting sidekicks and learning social connection continued. Fostering growth through creativity
- Establishing emotional safety through pop culture (Learning the Patronus Charm, introduction to willingness and vulnerability)
Session 5 | March 8, 2023, 12 PM—2 PM EST
- Fostering growth through creativity
- Writing fanfiction for therapy
Session 6 | March 15, 2023, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
- Introduction to the Superhero Narrative – defusion, restructuring, and empowering
- Using Superhero Narrative to treat PTSD, anxiety, depression
Session 7 | March 22, 2023, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
- Mindfulness as a Jedi Power
- Power-ups – self-compassion, self-soothing, and mindfulness with pop culture
Session 8 | March 29, 2023, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
- Create your own movie – committed action, final narrative
- “Gamifying” homework
Participants will be able to:
- Explain the concept of Superhero Therapy.
- Demonstrate how to incorporate pop culture examples into treatment.
- Analyze which pop culture characters might be most suitable for a specific client.
- Create a treatment plan using Superhero Therapy.
- Explain the concept of Therapy Quest and game-based approaches to therapy.
- Discuss research related to game-based and pop-culture-based treatments.
- Demonstrate how to incorporate interactive choice-based game into therapy.
- Demonstrate how to apply Superhero Therapy to clinical cases.
- Demonstrate how to create emotional safety with clients using pop culture
- Explain narrative exposure therapy (NET) techniques using pop culture
- Demonstrate how to apply NET to treat PTSD, anxiety, and depression
- Demonstrate how to help clients create meaningful social connections using Superhero Therapy
- Explain the role and the importance of heroic role models for treatment and recovery
- Discuss how to “gamify” homework practice
- Demonstrate mindfulness and self-compassion practices in Superhero Therapy framework
- Demonstrate the implementation of creativity exercises in Superhero Therapy
Please review complete CE and conflict-of-interest disclosure information prior to registering. This live online course is sponsored by Praxis Continuing Education and Training and is approved for 16 CE Hours by the following listed below. There was no commercial support for this activity. None of the planners or presenters for this educational activity have relevant financial relationship(s) to disclose with ineligible companies whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.
Praxis CET maintains responsibility for the program with the CE approvals outlined below:
Joint Accreditation: In support of improving patient care, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.
IPCE: This activity was planned by and for the healthcare team, and learners will receive 16 Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) credit for learning and change.
Nursing: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this activity for a maximum of 16 ANCC contact hours.
Physicians: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc designates this live activity for a maximum of 16 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
Psychologists: Continuing Education (CE) credits for psychologists are provided through the co-sponsorship of the American Psychological Association (APA) Office of Continuing Education in Psychology (CEP). The APA CEP Office maintains responsibly for the content of the programs.
Social Workers: As a Jointly Accredited Organization, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is approved to offer social work continuing education by the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) Approved Continuing Education (ACE) program. Organizations, not individual courses, are approved under this program. State and provincial regulatory boards have the final authority to determine whether an individual course may be accepted for continuing education credit. Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc maintains responsibility for this course. Social workers completing this course receive 16 clinical continuing education credits.
Drug and Alcohol Counselors: This course has been approved by Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, as a NAADAC Approved Education Provider, for 16 CE hours. NAADAC Provider #165310, Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc, is responsible for all aspects of its programming.
National Counselors: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. has been approved by NBCC as an Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 6759. Programs that do not qualify for NBCC credit are clearly identified. Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is solely responsible for all aspects of the programs.
NY Social Workers: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Social Work as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed social workers #SW-0467
NY Counselors: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Mental Health Practitioners as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed mental health counselors. #MHC-0198.
NY Psychologists: Praxis Continuing Education and Training, Inc. is recognized by the New York State Education Department’s State Board for Psychology as an approved provider of continuing education for licensed psychologists #PSY-0002.
NOTE: Many state boards accept offerings accredited by national or other state organizations. If your state is not listed, please check with your professional licensing board to determine whether the accreditations listed are accepted.
Derrick, J. E., Gabriel, S., & Hugenberg, K. (2009). Social surrogacy: How favored television programs provide the experience of belonging. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 45, 352–362
Garbarino, J. (1987). Children’s response to a sexual abuse prevention program: A study of the Spiderman comic. Child Abuse & Neglect, 11(1), 143-148.
Vezzali, L., Stathi, S., Giovannini, D., Capozza, D., & Trifiletti, E. (2015). The greatest magic of Harry Potter: Reducing prejudice. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 45(2), 105-121.
White, R. E., Prager, E. O., Schaefer, C., Kross, E., Duckworth, A. L., & Carlson, S. M. (2017). The “Batman Effect”: Improving perseverance in young children. Child development, 88(5), 1563-1571.
Young, A. F., Gabriel, S., & Hollar, J. L. (2013). Batman to the rescue! The protective effects of parasocial relationships with muscular superheroes on men’s body image. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 49(1), 173-177.
This is an online learning event. Access to a computer and high-speed internet is required. Refer to our FAQ page for further information on technical requirements for this training.
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