Guest Blog by Elijah Irving, M.A., CSAT Candidate
I have always been a bit of a superhero geek (more antihero) growing up. Being a fan of the mainstream Batman, Superman, X-Men etc. enlightened me as a child to what a “good person” does. As I got older, I realized taht you have be careful about who you attempt to save and who you do not. Some people may turn into supervillains, whether you helped them, or not. Being a therapist and a fan of these revered heroes, I often wonder what it would be like to have them sitting in front of me at times.
In his book, Even A Superhero Needs Counseling, Daniel Bates has a good approach to analyzing these superheroes and supervillains and suggesting treatment if they were to see him for therapy. His diagnosing the superheroes with disorders and proposing their treatment plans was interesting to ponder. There is a sense of understanding that he investigated some differential diagnoses before stamping some of our favorite heroes and villains with a diagnosis. I have no doubt that other therapists would say that he is spot on with some diagnoses and disagree with others.
Using this book to further investigate the minds of comic book heroes and foes could be of some help in therapy sessions. Especially when we have clients that identify with comic book characters or just to share an interest in a character to help understand why our client is interested in them. I find that the use of comics could provide a bridge to some of our clients that have not even heard of the comics. They might be able to identify with the same struggles and potentially find a similar coping skill that a character may have used. I am not saying that we would recommend parading around as the caped crusader to avenge the people that cause trauma to others, however, we could look at the actions of comic book characters who are doing something healthy to help them cope with the dark worlds that we live in. Maybe our clients could see themselves as their own superheroes?
To Find the book: