Superhero Therapy

Combining Evidence-Based Therapy with Pop Culture Narratives to Heal Clients

CE Hours available ( How do I get my CE? )
Janina Scarlet, PhD Creator of Superhero Therapy, and author

About This Course

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.

Prior to registering, please click here to review speaker-planner conflict of interest disclosures and complete CE information.


Session 1 | July 12, 2021, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • Introduction to Superhero Therapy
  • Formulation and processing of an origin story
Session 2 | July 19, 2021, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • Learning to select a heroic role model and establishing heroic core values
  • Create a treatment plan using Superhero Therapy
Session 3 | July 26, 2021, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • Introduction to game-based therapy
  • Interactive role-playing game demonstration
Session 4 | August 2, 2021, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • 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 | August 9, 2021, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • Fostering growth through creativity
  • Writing fanfiction for therapy
Session 6 | August 16, 2021, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • Introduction to the Superhero Narrative – defusion, restructuring, and empowering
  • Using Superhero Narrative to treat PTSD, anxiety, depression
Session 7 | August 23, 2021, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • Mindfulness as a Jedi Power
  • Power-ups – self-compassion, self-soothing, and mindfulness with pop culture
Session 8 | August 30, 2021, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • Create your own movie – committed action, final narrative
  • “Gamifying” homework

Learning Objectives

Participants will be able to:
  1. Explain the concept of Superhero Therapy.
  2. Demonstrate how to incorporate pop culture examples into treatment.
  3. Analyze which pop culture characters might be most suitable for a specific client.
  4. Create a treatment plan using Superhero Therapy.
  5. Explain the concept of Therapy Quest and game-based approaches to therapy.
  6. Discuss research related to game-based and pop-culture-based treatments.
  7. Demonstrate how to incorporate interactive choice-based game into therapy.
  8. Demonstrate how to apply Superhero Therapy to clinical cases.
  9. Demonstrate how to create emotional safety with clients using pop culture
  10. Explain narrative exposure therapy (NET) techniques using pop culture
  11. Demonstrate how to apply NET to treat PTSD, anxiety, and depression
  12. Demonstrate how to help clients create meaningful social connections using Superhero Therapy
  13. Explain the role and the importance of heroic role models for treatment and recovery
  14. Discuss how to “gamify” homework practice
  15. Demonstrate mindfulness and self-compassion practices in Superhero Therapy framework
  16. Demonstrate the implementation of creativity exercises in Superhero Therapy

Continuing Education

Please review complete CE and conflict-of-interest disclosure information prior to registering. This course is jointly sponsored by Praxis CET and Institute for Better Health (IBH) and is approved for 16 CE Hours by the following listed below. There was no commercial support for this activity. All the planners/presenters have no relevant financial relationships to disclose.

Praxis CET maintains responsibility for the program with the CE approvals outlined below:
Drug and Alcohol Counselors: Indicated courses have 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.

Institute for Better Health maintains responsibility for the program with the CE approvals outlined below:
Physicians: This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of the Institute for Better Health and Praxis Continuing Education and Training. The Institute for Better Health is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The Institute for Better Health designates this live internet for a maximum of 16 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits ™. Physicians should only claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

Psychologists: Institute for Better Health is approved by the American Psychological Association (APA) to sponsor continuing education to psychologists. Institute for Better Health maintains responsibility for this program and its contents.

Nurses: Institute for Better Health, Inc is accredited as a provider of nursing continuing professional development by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation. Institute for Better Health is approved by the California Board of Registered Nurses, BRN (Provider CEP#2672).

Educators: Institute for Better Health has been approved by the Washington State Professional Educator Standards Board (WESPSB), a member of NASDTEC, as a Clock Hour Provider for Educators. Learners may claim one Clock Hour for each activity hour attended. Please contact your individual state boards for information regarding reciprocity and any additional requirements.




This course is intended for mental health professionals, beginners to intermediate level.

Recommended Reading

Scarlet, J. (2017). Superhero Therapy. Oakland, CA: New Harbinger.

Superhero Therapy


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 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 live presentation(s), all Praxis webinars are recorded for later viewing. Registrants may then access these recordings at any time for up to six months from the conclusion of the training to which they pertain.

Technical Requirements
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.

Refer to our FAQ page for our disclosure information.

All prices listed in US dollars and times in US Eastern time.

Refund and Cancellation Policy

We understand, sometimes things come up!

Praxis will offer a full refund to registrants of both live and live-online trainings who cancel their registration up to 14 days before the course or workshop start date, minus an administrative processing fee of $30 for a 2-day workshop or online course, and a $50 fee for a 4-day workshop. If cancelled within 14 days, no refund will be issued, however, a credit for the same amount will be applied toward another learning product, which expires within 1 year. Please email us at to cancel a registration.