Superhero therapy: finding the 'power' within

Superhero therapy: finding the 'power' within

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

The "fandoms" are represented at Lubbock-Con for the second and final day. For many of these fans, there is a far deeper meaning behind fictional super heroes.

One of the event's special guests, Janina Scarlet, shared how she uses superhero stories as a way to overcome a tough past and help patients suffering from mental health diseases.

"I was born and raised in Ukraine and when I was three years old," Scarlet said, "my family and I were exposed to Chernobyl radiation."

As a result, Janina Scarlet's health was forever affected. Scarlet said, for years, she was insecure until she watched an x-men movie. 

"It changed my life," Scarlet explained, "being able to see these superheroes who had a form of genetic mutation, kind of like I did, but were able to use their experiences just to help other people, inspired me." 

It is her mission to help others by using the fictional world of comics.

"I specialize in incorporating geek culture or pop culture into therapy to help people recover from post-traumatic stress disorder,"Scarlet said. 

Scarlet, a licensed psychologist, runs a superhero therapy site and has published several books aimed at finding the hero within.

"We chose those books to show the psychological strengths and benefits of these characters in our culture, " Scarlet said.

For many fellow Lubbock-Con attendees this community is an outlet to express themselves.

Comic fan Marie Richardson wasn't able to walk for the majority of last year. She said cosplay is the ultimate confidence booster. 

"It inspires me in real life because last year, I really couldn't do anything, I had to have spinal fusion surgery," Richardson said.

"It's really nice to just forget about being in pain a little bit and kind of push it to the back and see other people smile when they notice you and they're like omg, can I get your picture, please please." 

After serving in Iraq, Jayson Phillips suffers from PTSD. He uses comics to help cope.

"I needed a focus, an outlet for everything going on in my head, so I just started building things," Phillips said.

"It takes you to that place, and you start to feel a connection with that character so when you find a character that you like in the comic books you start following their adventures and you see how they get knocked down get right back up and keep going at it no matter what happens."

You can visit Scarlet's website at

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