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

Superhero stories and characters from fantasy and science fiction worlds have become prominent in American culture. We look to these stories for strength and inspiration in our own everyday lives—especially during times of struggle. This workshop will focus on how to incorporate popular culture and interactive games into evidence-based therapies, such as acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and narrative exposure therapy (NET) to help clients better manage anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other psychological disorders. Join clinical psychologist and international speaker/trainer Dr. Janina Scarlet in exploring Superhero Therapy, and learn how it might help you better help your clients in promoting positive changes.

Janina Scarlet, PhD, will present game-based and pop-culture-based treatment techniques in this workshop. Adult and adolescent clients have been shown to respond to these techniques—superhero and science fiction/fantasy stories contain powerful narratives and characters that many clients can identify with quickly. These narratives and characters offer a new way in to your client’s deepest fears and values. You’ll leave this workshop with the tools to help your clients map their own heroic journey using ACT, CBT, and NET.

After all, even superheroes need help sometimes.

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


Session 1 | May 4, 2020, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • Introduction to Superhero Therapy
  • Formulation and processing of an origin story
Session 2 | May 11, 2020, 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 | May 18, 2020, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • Introduction to game-based therapy
  • Interactive role-playing game demonstration
Session 4 | June 1, 2020, 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 | June 8, 2020, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • Fostering growth through creativity
  • Writing fanfiction for therapy
Session 6 | June 15, 2020, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • Introduction to the Superhero Narrative – defusion, restructuring, and empowering
  • Using Superhero Narrative to treat PTSD, anxiety, depression
Session 7 | June 22, 2020, 12 PM—2 PM EDT
  • Mindfulness as a Jedi Power
  • Power-ups – self-compassion, self-soothing, and mindfulness with pop culture
Session 8 | June 29, 2020, 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:

  • APA – Psychologists
  • NBCC – National Counselors
  • NAADAC – Drug & Alcohol Counselors
  • NY State – Counselors and Social Workers
  • Other State Level Counselors, MFTs, and Social Workers
  • WESPSB – Educators
  • ACCME – Physicians
  • ANCC – Nurses




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.