For April, I am honored to welcome Dr. Janina Scarlet. I have been following her blog and articles for over a year and was delighted when she accepted to be a guest for 2017.
Dr. Janina Scarlet is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, a scientist, and a full-time geek. A Ukrainian-born refugee, she survived Chernobyl radiation and persecution. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 12 with her family and later, inspired by the X-Men, developed Superhero Therapy to help patients with anxiety, depression, and PTSD. Her book, “Superhero Therapy” released on December 1, 2016 in the U.K. and on August 1, 2017 in the U.S.
NG: How were you first introduced to Science Fiction?
SCARLET: My first introduction to Science Fiction was through watching Star Wars in the late 1990’s after my family and I immigrated to the United States.
NG: What do you think of the versatile nature of Science Fiction and its relations with other genres, such as Superheroes and Fantasy?
SCARLET: I think all are similar in that they might focus on a person or a group of people facing series of obstacles in order to stand up for what is right. I think most stories, the best stories, show heroes, who are struggling with both internal and external obstacles and are trying to make the world a better place.
NG: What led you to use characters from these genres in your work as a Clinical Psychologist?
SCARLET: I wanted to inspire hope and teach my patients resilience. I wanted to show my patients that just like the characters from these works of fiction, they too could find courage in the face of fear, they too could find meaning in the face of tragedy, and they too could make the world a better place.
NG: Can you tell us about Superhero Therapy?
SCARLET: Superhero Therapy refers to incorporating fictional characters into therapy to teach people to become their own versions of Superheroes, their best selves, even if they are struggling, even if they are afraid.
NG: Do you think that Science Fiction is a genre welcoming to women?
SCARLET: I think that it is, though I think we need better diversity representation across genres
NG: Do you think Science Fiction, Superheroes, and Fantasy, help foster discussion about society issues?
SCARLET: Absolutely. They often demonstrate how prejudice, racism, and oppression can affect people, and how people can stand up to injustice.
NG: What are your three favorite Science Fiction books, movies and TV shows?
SCARLET: Doctor Who, Star Wars, Star Trek.
NG: What are the characters most inspiring to you?
SCARLET: Storm from the X-Men, Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, Princess Leia.
NG: Can you tell us about your upcoming self-help book?
SCARLET: My upcoming book, Superhero Therapy is part self-help book, part comic book about 6 fictional characters (superheroes, wizards, Time Travelers, etc) all of whom struggle with some kind of a mental health disorder, such as PTSD, eating disorders, depression, panic disorder, etc. The 6 of them attend a Superhero Training Academy where they learn how to better cope with their difficulties and how to be their best versions of a superhero
NG: Have your collaborations with other professionals such as scholar Dr. Travis Langley, and illustrator Wellinton Alves, have influenced your work?
SCARLET: Absolutely they have!
NG: Thank you so much for being with us today. I look forward to reading your book!