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Superhero Therapy
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About the Author

Janina Scarlet, PhD, studied at The City University of New York (CUNY) with a focus on behavioral neuroscience. She completed her postdoctoral training at the Veterans Medical Research Foundation, where she got an opportunity to treat active-duty service members with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She uses superhero therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, chronic pain, and PTSD at The Center for Stress and Anxiety Management. Scarlet also teaches at Alliant International University, and resides in San Diego, CA. Illustrator Wellinton Alves is well-known for his artwork for Marvel and DC Comics, including multiple issues of Avengers, Spider-Man, He-Man, Nightwing, and many others. He resides in Brazil.

Reviews

"Equal parts approachable and educational, Superhero Therapy is a great guide to managing your mental health that will make you feel like an IRL hero in the process."
--Sam Maggs, best-selling author of The Fangirl's Guide to the Galaxy and Wonder Women
"Her origin story is strong and her lesson is stronger. In Superhero Therapy, Janina Scarlet shows that a fear or weakness does not make a hero any less heroic, and that we all can be heroes both for ourselves and for others. Pain can be power. This fascinating resource can help therapists find ways to open dialogue with clients who are not ready to talk about their own lives, but might discuss the same issues through fictional examples. It is also a self-help book offering guidance for those who have trouble finding a path through life's troubles. Superhero Therapy is a must-read with a valuable message, and there is no one better to share that message than Scarlet."
--Travis Langley, PhD, author of Batman and Psychology, and editor of Star Wars Psychology
"Janina Scarlet is a real-life superhero with an origin story to rival any Marvel character. After surviving a childhood radiation spill, she moved halfway around the earth, overcame post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain, and reinvented herself as one of the world's most creative and innovative clinical psychologists. Her superhero therapy method is incredibly effective, easy to learn, grounded in solid scientific research--and most of all, fun. This book proves that getting stronger and happier can be a creative, intriguing, and thrilling journey. I am a huge fan of this book! It has worked for so many people--and I am confident it can work for you."
--Jane McGonigal, PhD, author of SuperBetter and Reality is Broken
"Janina Scarlet's approach to healing and empowerment is absolutely genius. With her signature blend of compassion, emotional intelligence, honesty, and fun, Scarlet's long-awaited Superhero Therapy gives us fascinating insight about the deepest significance of pop culture icons--and an essential guide to creating your own superhero within."
--Chase Masterson, actress (Star Trek; The Flash)
"Psychologist Scarlet, a childhood survivor of the Chernobyl nuclear explosion, draws on the techniques of acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) in this innovative approach to helping readers with emotional and psychological difficulties. Explaining how she found solace and inspiration through superhero movies and comics as a child, Scarlet introduces five original characters who are beset by anxiety, depression, anger, and shame, represented as a variety of monsters; both the heroes and the villains they face are brought to life in full-color panels drawn by comics artist Alves. At the Superhero Training Academy, Scarlet teaches the besieged heroes mindfulness techniques, along with readers. Watching these superheroes openly challenge their fears and wounding self-conceptions should prove encouraging to readers who know that all heroes have their weaknesses. Ages 13-up. (Aug.)"
--Publishers Weekly
"Scarlet, a psychologist and educator, teams up with Marvel and DC Comics artist Alves to take six (original) superheroes through simple techniques for coping with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other struggles associated with (though not limited to) adolescence. Scarlet was inspired by the immune system disorder she developed as a child after the Chernobyl disaster; in the U.S., she was bullied for being 'radioactive.' Here she outlines a program of exercises in 'acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)' and 'self-compassion' for a circle of crime fighters dealing with shame, anxiety, and behaviors like panic attacks and cutting. Though readers may find Scarlet's personal story the most absorbing part, the color illustrations on almost every other page do feature a cast of horned, leering 'monsters' and (led by the author herself as discussion leader) human figures of diverse age and race in dashing spandex garb. The conceit, along with some eye-catching art and a focus on setting simple, achievable daily goals, makes this a promising alternative to more conventional self-help programs."
--Booklist
"Wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated, this engaging book presents acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) methods using comic book characters from geek culture. It's more than a style--it's a powerful new method of training evidence-based ways of dealing with mental health problems. Defusion methods are even more obviously useful when they are 'charms' it is even clearer what needs to be done when the sword of willingness cuts anxiety monsters down to size. Welcome, new recruit, to the Superhero Training Academy. I hope you enjoy the super powers you will acquire!"
--Steven C. Hayes, PhD, codeveloper of ACT

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