Social Media Influence on the Cosplay Culture
Cosplay is a fun hobby/way of life for many people. Cosplay has become more popular now days thanks to social media and most geeky or nerdy hobbies gaining popularity.
It wasn’t long ago that I came across a site with a heading stating the Top 10 Best Cosplays. While what timeline and criteria any of this was based on was extremely vague, the clickbait worked. Immediately I took notice of one key thing in every picture: they were all heavily photoshopped. Now there is nothing wrong with photoshopping a picture to enhance it, but the costumes weren’t that spectacular or noteworthy. Or rather, it was hard to tell what was authentically part of the costume and what generated by a program afterward.
Does that matter when it comes to cosplaying? Not necessarily but to a newcomer to cosplay, what used to be something that seemed fun and easy enough to join, feels like the equivalent of joining a casual game of basketball on a community court to the baseline equating starting in the NBA.
I’m old school, it dates me and that’s fine, but I remember having to scour the internet for a picture taken of me at a convention by a stranger in order to get pictures of my costume. Now everyone seems to be getting a professional photographer to do elaborate photoshoots; or at least using their phones with dramatically better cameras than my old pink digital camera.
Again, none of this is a bad thing because the times and technology are changing, but it may have made a welcoming community appear to be a bit more intimidating. It has also created a much larger gap that highlights one’s socioeconomic status and an unnecessary toll on mental health of expectation for those who take a hobby beyond just dressing up.
What used to be a hobby for some has become a lifestyle for others. Before the introduction of the influencer, there were only two or three cosplayers that seemed to make costuming characters into a profitable profession; this is excluding cosplayers that did costuming work for other productions or companies. Now there are numerous cosplayers who have followings into the hundreds of thousands, a patreon to get funding and sell prints of themselves, and a monthly production of new costumes. Granted, cosplayers are far more than just costumers: they are seamstress, makeup artists, wig builders, 3D printing designers, sculptors, and then ultimately, models of their work.
Social media has created a platform that is really appealing to a lot of cosplayers, but behind the scenes, it is easy for something that is a hobby to become overwhelming. Especially since some (not all) cosplayers may be drawn to the hobby because it does without question provide a large amount of attention. That said, attention is positive and negative in the comment sections of any post. Even from the old days of 4chan and Cosplay.com, it is difficult to develop a tough skin to negative comments when you may feel fueled by the positive. This isn’t a new dynamic but it is one that is worth paying attention to if it is detrimental to one’s mental health and self esteem. Just like any social media influencer, younger individuals are attracted to the hobby and may not have the life experience to easily shrug off criticism from a large anonymous platform.
There are not many boundaries role modeled around balancing this with the rest of life and especially if there is a paid demand for new costumes or if real life obligations are more pressing. It is easy for a simple costume to take up resources (even energy you may have at the end of a long work day) that are not as readily available; making boundaries with time and finances important to consider when pursuing the hobby more seriously. This new standard of cosplay, despite being for the love of the craft, can wear out someone who may create an expectation of themselves to keep up.
Cosplay often requires spending some money - especially when you add the cost of a convention onto it - although it doesn’t have to be over the top expensive. It can be done quite inexpensively and still done well. It can also be done while maintaining a healthy work/life balance. Surely, any hobby can get pricey depending on your dedication, but this new image on social media of cosplay may create a false image of what it fundamentally is all about.
Some tips to help reframe your hobby are
Engaging in regular self-care
Prioritizing real life over hobby
Disabling app comments/likes
Set boundaries with yourself
Connecting with other cosplayers in person
Aside from these tips you can also ask yourself…
Why do you cosplay?
What is it that you love about cosplaying?
Is the cosplay community you belong to supportive?
The answer to these questions can help remind you of what is truly important to you when cosplaying. Instead of focusing on views, likes, etc. You can focus more on what really matters to you.
Ultimately performing self care, prioritizing real life first over a hobby, and disabling app comments could be a place to start. Getting off the apps and connecting with other cosplayers in person can help take away the pressure to produce an image that may or may not be accurate and connect you with the community that makes it all worthwhile.
Written by: Jennifer Klesman from Cityscape Counseling Chicago
Fruit Basket and Trauma
Trauma can impact us in a different way. We heal in different ways and at our own pace. I love the anime Fruit Basket because you can see the different ways in which people can experience trauma, how we deal with it, and the different ways in which healing comes.
It also shows how no matter what we all need someone who accepts us and is willing to help us. We all just want to feel accepted and loved for who we are. That's what Tohru did for the Somas. She was there for them, accepted them for who they were without judgment, and loved them the only way she knew (taking care of them).
While trauma comes in different forms and affects all of us in different ways it doesn't mean the pain and struggle are less. It is true, some people may experience trauma from an event, while others may not. However, that doesn’t mean those who are affected by the event are weaker, more sensitive, or need better coping skills. Trauma is trauma and it can affect us all at different stages of life and in different ways.
In order to overcome and thrive, we have to admit that we carry pain and injury from those bad experiences in our life. If you feel ready to do that then it may be the perfect time to find a therapist near you.
Just a warning there will be major spoilers ahead so if you haven't seen the anime, take a break watch it, and then come back to this blog.
Here is a brief summary of the anime in case it's been a long time since you watched it or you want to read this blog and not watch the anime.
The main character is Tooru Honda, whom we meet after her mother died. She is working multiple jobs and is living in a tent in the woods, where she meets three members of the Sohma family. Tooru ends up living with Kyo, Yuki, and Shigure. Not only is the Sohma family hiding the fact that when hugged by the opposite gender they turned into animals from the Chinese Zodiac, but they are also hiding a ton of trauma that came from that ability. Throughout the seasons Tooru ends up meeting all the Sohma’s that turn into animals, learns about their pain, and makes attempts to heal them.
In this blog, I will be discussing the trauma of four different characters as it was portrayed in Fruit Basket. I will briefly discuss emotional trauma (Kyo), verbal abuse and isolation (Yuki), and grief and loss (Tooru). Most characters experienced more than one form of trauma, but I will be focusing on the ones I mentioned.
Emotional trauma (Kyo).
Kyo was ostracised twice. Once from being part of the Zodiac as he transforms into the cat who is technically not in the Zodiac. He was also abandoned by his family. His father appeared to be afraid of Kyo and his transformation, which if left unchecked would turn him into a monster, not just a cat. His father’s fear led him to accuse his wife and son of his own failings. The wife then harmed herself after probably years of verbal abuse while the son hated himself and everyone else. Kyo also saw his mother commit suicide which further served to alienate him from the rest of his family.
Verbal abuse and isolation (Yuki).
He lived through years of being told he wasn't a good person, nobody listened to him when he tried to ask for help, and that drove him to be alone to avoid interacting with others. His own mother wanted to have a better place in the family and thus allowed Akito (the head of the family) to do whatever she wanted to Yuki who was younger. Akito had her own problems she didn't know how to handle so she took it all out on Yuki and forced him to be alone in a dark room while she told Yuki he was worthless.
Grief and loss (Tohru).
She was aware enough of her own emotions that she was able to cope with them in the best way she knew. It helped that she found a new family and someone to help her fill the void that her mother’s death left behind. In the beginning, she wasn’t very good at it as she was in denial, but after listening to her friends about their own traumas and pain she began to realize that she too was hurting. She also had friends, aside from the Sohmas, who were super supportive of her.
The trauma Kyo, Yuki, and Tohru experienced at the hands of their family members severely changed the way they communicated with others. Slowly through trial and error and deep reflections, they all learned to communicate in a more appropriate way.
A while back there was a study that looked into Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE), known as the ACEs study. The adverse experiences are potentially traumatic events such as violence, abuse, or growing up in a family that struggles with substance use or mental health problems. According to the study, the stress from experiencing ACEs can change a child’s brain development and change how the child responds to stress. The findings show that ACEs are linked to mental illness, substance abuse, and chronic health problems. (this is something that is preventable and if you would like to learn more go to www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/aces/index.html).
Yeah yeah research, science, blah blah. So why is this study relevant to this blog? Great question and the answer is it’s not. Ok just kidding, it's very relevant. The ACE’s study showed us that experiencing adverse events (aka trauma) can impact us for the rest of our life and most of those experiences can be preventable. In Fruit Basket, most of the traumas experienced by the characters were either lessened or soothed by having one person believe, love them, and treat them with respect.
In order to overcome and thrive, we have to admit that we carry pain and injury from those bad experiences in our life. If you feel ready to do that then it may be the perfect time to find a therapist near you.
What does it mean to be a superhero in real life?
An ongoing theme in My Hero Academia is exploring what it means to be a hero. This anime is fantastic and thus it has great character development for each character. However, at the beginning of the series, the main characters have their own idea of what being a hero means. For Midoriya it means doing whatever it takes to help regardless of the sacrifices he has to make. Bakugo, on the other hand, believes that a hero always wins. Todoroki isn’t sure so he is just learning as much as he can. At one point in the series, All Might says “meddling where you don't technically have to is the essence of being a hero.”
I don’t think I like any of those definitions, at least at the start of the show (it gets way better later on). So I did a google search and found this quote by Stan Lee “... a hero is someone who is concerned about other people’s well-being and will go out his or her way to help them- even if there is no chance of a reward.” Superheroes often display a sense of altruism, which can be boiled down to being kind to each other. So if we are kind to others who are in need without expecting a reward does that make us heroes?
That definition doesn’t seem right to me so then I went to my brother (I wanted to get another’s person perspective). My brother said, “someone who rescues people.” He went with the simple approach, but there must be more to that right? My brother’s definition reminded me of Maya Angelou’s quote “I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” This one is more detailed than my brother’s definition… but… ok I got nothing. It’s a pretty good definition.
We often refer to doctors, nurses, firefighters, military personnel, and police officers as heroes. Based on Maya Angelou’s definition we can also add advocates, activists, and people in many professions that are trying to make a positive change. But we can’t all be that or do that. So then does that mean we can never be superheroes? Or that we are only superheroes when we are fighting for a cause? What about when we do little things like vote for better laws, does that make us heroes?
I have seen posts about how vulnerability, mindfulness, and kindness are our superpowers. Well, now it feels like we are getting somewhere. Things like that are well within our reach all day every day. In the 1997 Disney movie, Hercules, Zeus told Hercules “A true hero is not measured by the size of his strength, but by the strength of his heart.” This definition is good, I like it. But how do we measure the strength of our hearts? Let’s break it down a little bit.
People say that their heroes are family members, friends, or famous people. When asked why they would mostly say that the person is kind, is emotionally strong, gifted in some way, etc. We admire others because they have qualities, we either don't see in ourselves or are trying to improve upon.
There are many types of strength in the world, and we must acknowledge them if we are to consider what a superhero is. Superheroes aren’t just those who save someone’s life or work hard to make the world a better place, they are also the ones who save themselves.
Someone can be a superhero even when they only do small actions, such as asking for help, getting up to go to work (even when they would rather stay in bed), being vulnerable about their needs, setting boundaries with loved ones, or seeking therapy.
That means that surviving a traumatic event makes you a superhero! That, however, does not mean that to be a superhero you must always be strong and act like the trauma doesn’t affect you. Surviving a traumatic event makes you a hero because you are still trying, no matter how small or big your attempts are. It also doesn’t mean you never have bad days. The fact that you are continuing to move forward is incredible.
So yeah, you are a superhero.
In the end, I have concluded that being a hero means continuing to stand up even when you have fallen a thousand times. A superhero is someone who takes on a positive action even though they are afraid, tired, or feeling empty.
What does being a hero mean to you?
And does makes one move from being a hero to being a superhero?
What would be your recipe for becoming or being a superhero (sugar, spice, everything nice and chemical x)?
These are all great questions to explore via journaling or with your therapist.
What is Exposure Therapy?
Wandavision, Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki series all explore some aspects of mental health/therapy. I will not include Bucky and Sam in this post because the type of therapy Bucky needed was different.
Exposure therapy is a treatment designed to help people confront their fears. It is typical used for phobias, panic disorder, most anxiety disorders, PTSD, and OCD.
There are many variations of exposure therapy, such as in vivo exposure, imagined exposure, virtual reality, and interoceptive exposure.
Exposure therapy can help us with...
Self-efficacy: we learn that we are capable of confronting our fears and manage our emotions.
Extinction: weaken/eliminate learned fear of objects or places and a bad outcome.
Habituation: we become accustomed to being close to what we fear and our fear reaction decreases.
Emotional processing: we learn to view the objects or places in a more realistic light and become comfortable with fear.
Exposure therapy can be given in graded exposure (therapist and client create a hierarchy of fear), flooding (expose the client to the most fearful task/scenario), or systematic desensitization (exposure plus relaxation exercises).
Loki and Wanda experienced flooding. They watched their most traumatic experiences.
Wanda: Agnes forced Wanda to watch her worst memories, the memories she had been trying to avoid. While Wanda did have to see her past traumas again, she also saw the love she shared with Vizion.
Loki: Agent Mobius showed Loki how his life would play out if he continued on the same path. He would be assisting in the death of his mother and failing at every scheme he concocted. He also saw the love his brother and father had for him.
Exposure therapy can be very uncomfortable and/or terrifying, which is why it is highly recommended that you seek a mental health professional to assist you (and not a witch who wants to steal your power or an agent of the TVA).
Loki: Self-Fulfilling Prophecy
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is when we have a belief about ourselves or others that drives our behavior resulting in confirmation of that belief. Geek Therapy is about using what we love in therapy to make it easier and more comfortable for us. So I will be using Loki to explain how self-fulfilling prophecy is.
In the book Loki by Mackenzie Lee, the story shows that Loki began to see himself as the villain because everyone else saw him as one. He was thought of as ‘other’ because he was different. He was named the God of Lies, and everyone believed he was always planning, always scheming, and always up to no good.
He began to believe that maybe he was destined to become a villain so then he began to behave like one. We see his villainous actions in most of the movies he appears in. In the Loki series, Loki admits that he doesn’t like hurting people but it was something he just had to do because he was weak and thus became a villain.
Simply stated, Loki believed he was destined to become a villain because everyone around him suspected so and because he was so different from his family. He then began to act as the villain causing chaos and hurting others along the way. Every time he did something he didn’t like (hurting people) he cemented the belief that he was a villain and he had no other choice but to continue to be a villain.
Self-Fulfilling prophecies have two types: self-imposed and other imposed. They are just as they sound, self-imposed prophecies are the ones we create when our own expectations influence our actions. Other imposed prophecies are those when the expectations of others (family, friends, school, society) influence our actions.
There is also the Pygmalion effect, which is a type of other imposed prophecy. The Pygmalion effect suggests that how we treat others impacts how they act. For example, Odin (based on the book by Mackenzee Lee) believed that Loki was going to become evil, and thus he probably treated Loki (even if unconsciously) like he was a bad person, which then led Loki to believe and act like he was evil.
Therapy can always help because we will have a trained professional guiding us in recognizing our unhelpful thought patterns. There are a few things we can do before or after therapy to help the process move along.
Journaling can help us organize our thoughts and see them more clearly. Meditation often leads us to pay attention to what we are thinking when trying to meditate. Setting boundaries with ourselves and others can help us realize what our thoughts are and what others want us to believe. Self-reflecting at the end of the day can also help us get started in identifying self-fulfilling prophecies.
While the things mentioned above can help us identify our self-fulfilling prophecies they cannot replace therapy.
For more information on Self Fulfilling Prophecies, check out this article:
Creating a Safe Space
So why is it important to have a safe space? Mostly for a bunch of well-researched reasons.
In layman's terms, it’s important because it's good for our mental health. We can use a safe space when we are feeling overwhelmed and need to be in a place that is familiar and safe.
A safe space can either be a physical palace, like a bedroom, or an imagined one.
CREATING A PHYSICAL SAFE SPACE
Once we have a physical safe space we can relax, organize our thoughts, do self-care and get ready to return to achieving our goals.
It can be a small corner of the house where we can sit and relax for a bit or it can be a whole room. The important thing is that we feel comfortable in that space.
Here are some ideas on what you can do to create a physical safe space for yourself
Have a clean and organized space to help increase concentration
Decorate it with things that make you happy
Have essential oils for some aromatherapy
Surround yourself with things you love
Have some positive notes/posters on the walls to motivate and encourage you
Include things that can help you relax
CREATING AN IMAGINARY SAFE SPACE
A safe space can also be an imaginary place you can go to when you are feeling overwhelmed because of emotions, thoughts, and the external environment. We may not always be able to just go to the safe space we created in our home, but we can go to our imaginary safe space no matter where we are.
It's a grounding technique that can help us regulate our emotions before we can be ready to deal with the real world.
You can start to build your own safe space by imagining what you love. Here are some questions that can help you think about your safe space.
What makes you happy?
What brings you peace?
What helps you relax?
I would like to thank @tqhr (cottage picture), @ciki.design (temple and boat pictures), and @flygombal_art (landscape picture) for creating the pictures.
Loki God of Stories & Therapy
I have been online long enough to realize that Loki is the comfort character for many (check out my blog on comfort characters). So I decided it would be a good idea to write more about him.
I read the comic Agent of Asgard a few years ago (rewarded myself for finishing studying for a test). I loved how it ended *** SPOILERS*** with Loki declaring himself to be the God of Stories.
After talking to my therapist (yes therapists also go to therapists) I realized that the way I talk and probably write (loads of unnecessary detail and run-on sentences) is a reflection of how I was raised. In Mexican culture stories are important. Whenever I was telling my mother about my day, she always insisted I used as much detail as possible.
It's because of how important stories are in the Mexican culture that I love books and movies. I also love history because it's basically a multitude of stories.
I added some of my favorite quotes to this blog because they are my favorite and say something I think it's important to address. We just want to tell our stories, we want to see our stories on the big and little screen. Representation matters and it's something so incredibly powerful that it charges us with energy, hope, pride and a sense of belonging when it happens.
“Maybe some stories are so good… so powerful… so wanted… that the universe believes them. So good they’re magic. So good they are alive.”
Representation in the media/politics/and in every area of our lives matters. We all have different stories and we all want them to be told.
Why have we seen movements like Black Lives Matter, Me Too, and Stop APPI Hate? It's because we want to be seen! We want our problems to be addressed by those in a position to make some real changes.
For example, the internet basically exploded when it was revealed that Loki was gender fluid and bisexual. Most fans already knew this about Loki because of the comics, but to have it be said in a tv show that millions of people watch, well that was just mind-blowing!
The media is slowly making progress in representing those who for a long time had no voice. Movies/shows like Loki, In the Heights, Coco, On the Basis of Sex, Roma, Black Panther, and many many more have slowly represented those who were minor background characters before.
In the past few years, I have seen many fans create theories or interpret the movies to be about something that perhaps wasn’t intended to be. Even if the creators didn’t intend the movie to be about coming out, immigration, etc. we see it reflected the movies because it's our story, it's how we connect to the movie/show.
“A lie is a story told. That’s all. And we can rewrite our stories. All of us. Write our own happy endings. Our own redefinitions. We don’t have to be what we’re told to be. Even by ourselves.”
We all lie. Sometimes we tell little white lies to protect others or to protect ourselves. We lie to ourselves all time too, don’t we? We say things like “oh I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’m ok.”
Our brain lies to us all the time! In the world of mental health, we call them cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions are different types of thoughts that we have that hinder our progress, rob us of our positivity and distort the way we view the world. I’ll try to write another blog about cognitive distortions soon!
Geek Therapy is all about using what we love (fandoms) in the therapy session. I will keep repeating this until we all believe it… therapy is for everyone and we don’t have to be at the brink of a crisis to seek help.
In therapy, we can…
learn about our behavior patterns, see how they have either helped or hindered our progress toward reaching our goals
have a safe space to share our stories without being judged
figure out new ways to be who we really want to be
understand our cognitive distortions and learn how to manage them
practice managing our emotions
learn what truly makes us happy and how to make it a reality
What geek therapists offer is the opportunity to use our fandoms in the therapy session. We usually use characters or plots to explain a psychological concept. We can also play games (board games, video games, role-playing games, all kinds of games), listen to a song, draw, use toys or action figures to practice the skills we need.
So yeah, don’t wait. Find a geek therapist near you!
A big thanks to MartyOfLungbarrow (at DeviantArt) for creating the Loki God of Stories art.
Comfort Characters & Mental Health
A comfort character is a character that provides comfort. Urban Dictionary describes it as “when a character, which can be from a TV show, game, book, etc. makes you feel safe and happy when upset, sad, down, etc.”
Lately, I have been reading comments/posts that mention comfort characters and how those fictional characters have helped people’s mental health. So I did some research on this and it is definitely something I have briefly mentioned before.
There are characters out there that we feel a connection to because we can identify with their struggles or because we would love to have someone like them in our life. They make us feel hopeful.
Sometimes we like a character when we have no reason to. For example, there are many of us who like characters who are created to be mean, have not so great personality traits, or be the villain in the story. In those instances, we may like the character for their voice, their background, the love they show for another character, or for something we can't really explain.
I've had a deep desire to see a fictional character succeed because they have struggled so much and they deserve a win (Loki!). Then I begin to think if this character wins then, maybe, I too can succeed in whatever I set out to do.
Comfort characters provide us with a safe space, a place we can feel calm and disconnect from our problems. This helps us return to a baseline and be ready to face the world again.
Do you have a comfort character?
Like Stars on Earth
I saw this movie back when I was an undergrad student. I have seen the movie a couple of times and every time it reminds me of so many things that as adults we often take for granted. Adults can forget what it was like to be a child and how difficult it was to figure out the world around you, not to mention whatever is happening in your inner world.
Movies remind us to look at situations from a different perspective. I love this movie because it has soo many life lessons we can take away from it that it's impossible to write them all here. What I will do instead is focus on three lessons I think everyone should be aware of.
The movie is about a child who has undiagnosed dyslexia, his struggles and that one teacher that makes a huge difference in his life.
The movie is great because it shows the struggles a child with dyslexia is likely to have. The movie also demonstrates the dangers of an undiagnosed learning disability. Children with learning difficulties often get labeled a crazy, dumb, lazy or defiant cuz if learning disability or even emotional problems. Teachers aren’t meant to know it all and be all for children. However, having an open mind about what may be causing the student to behave in such a way and seek advice from a qualified person can make all the difference.
The movie also illustrates the great impact teachers can and do have in our life. Teachers can have tremendous influence on students by connecting with them by telling their own stories. Sometimes parenting styles work wonders for the child and sometimes it clashes to create a less desirable outcome. The oldest son in the family had a personality that meshed well with the parent's parenting style, however, the youngest son was almost the complete opposite. The youngest child wasn’t understood by his parents and that was when the teacher came in. The teacher had a similar experience to the child and through that was able to form a trusting relationship with the child and provide him with a safe space to be himself.
Children also need to have a safe space (including no judgment) where they can express themselves without any rush. Children learn to communicate with the adults around them, however, adults have to teach children to understand what they are experiencing (labeling their emotions) so they can talk about them.
We need to meet children where they are at. We can’t treat children as mini-adults and neither can we treat them like they are too young to understand. We have to speak to children in an age-appropriate way. There needs to be a balance between what we expect children to know and do and giving them time to understand how the world works.
No adult has all the answers on how to best help a child. That is why there are so many different professionals in the community that can help. You have Social Workers, Teachers, Psychologists, School Counselors, Physicians, etc that can help you figure out what your child is going through and how to best help them.
Our emotions can be difficult to express in an appropriate way or even identify in the heat of the moment. Even the most chill and mellow people can get angry. And sometimes we just need an anger translator.
Anger is one of the emotions that society has arbitrarily decided is ok for people to express… but only men can do it, it's not “appropriate for women to express anger.” If a woman expresses anger it is common to hear phrases like "calm down," "are you on your period or something?" "why are you so aggressive?" Even if the anger is justified, that woman who expressed her anger is now seen as someone with mood swings or a difficult woman (this may be more common in BIPOC communities).
It so happens that anger is an emotion, we all feel and should feel free to express. Feeling anger is normal and something no matter your gender we all experience. Sometimes our anger is justified like when we are being mistreated, or we see injustice happening. On the other hand, we could be angry for no reason at all, like when we wake up on the wrong side of the bed, or someone looked at us funny.
However… There are healthy and unhealthy ways to express that emotion. Feeling anger isn't wrong, but how we react to the feeling may be.
Most of us would be familiar with the not so helpful ways to express anger. For example, insulting others (or ourselves), physically harming others (or ourselves), yelling, blaming, and the list goes on. Can we name as many ways in which we can express our anger in a healthy way?
Anger is often the result of something else, like being misunderstood or feeling hurt. The Anger Iceberg worksheet explains it better. Anger just seems to be the one emotion we can express more easily, the one we see adults express more often, and the one who has the least consequences (or so we think).
When we express our anger, a conversation can be more productive and lead to mutual understanding. In any situation or any type of anger, it's important that we express ourselves in a way that will only help us and help those around us.
Check out this article on ways to release anger in a healthy way. https://www.healthline.com/health/how-to-release-anger
ITs one of my absolute favorite Key and Peele sketches made even better by @gaaraworshipper on Tumblr.
Power Pose Geek Style
Superhero poses are something anyone can do and they will be helpful for our confidence. It only takes two minutes!
We can use this in the therapy session. Using superheroes poses is way more fun than just regular power poses. Here are some ways in which using superhero poses can help the therapeutic alliance
It makes therapy fun, something to look forward to
It gives us permission to be silly for a few minutes for the benefit of our mental health (even adults can do it)
It can make therapy homework fun and something clients actually want to do
It can increase participation in therapy (especially for the teens/kids who are there only because their parents made them)
It encourages clients the therapeutic session to be more interactive
Clients can use these poses in their everyday life. When would they practice superhero poses? Here are some suggestions...
In the morning when you wake up,
right before doing exercise (if you are like me and have to find a way to make it fun)
before an interview
before a presentation
before a test
before a date
before you start studying
before any sport competition
before your wedding
before any special/important occasion
You can start by asking the client who their favorite character is. They can choose a real-life superhero if that's what the client prefers. Then, together you can decide what type of power pose to attribute to the superhero and find ways to use in and out of the session.
What fictional character’s pose would you want to practice first?
If you want to learn more about the science behind body language and power poses check out Amy Cuddy’s TedTalk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ks-_Mh1QhMc
How to use Boruto in Therapy...
The Japanese anime Boruto has one episode in which the anxiety management of one of the characters is explored. This particular episode showed how Metal Lee's anxiety hinder his progress towards becoming who he really wants to be.
The episode also demonstrates how sometimes we buy into supposed cures for anxiety, depression, etc. when they have no proof of it. Online and in social media we often see advertisements for different things that can help us get rid of our stress or anxiety. In Metal's case, he bought a necklace that was supposed to eliminate his anxiety, which didn't work so he bought more of them to make sure they worked.
This episode with Metal Lee reminded me of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy was illustrated here with Guy Sensei being the therapist and encouraging Metal to accept his anxiety. It wasn’t until Metal accepted his anxiety, committed himself to overcome it that he saw improvement in himself. While fighting his dad he was still anxious but he pushed through and ended up improving.
One of the other characters said something along the lines of you are a person who gets anxious, that's the real you. We often want to believe the anxiety isn’t part of us or blame everything on the diagnosis so we don’t have to do anything about it. In doing so we close a door to our improvement.
This is only one example of how anime can be used in the therapeutic session.
You can watch Boruto Next Generation Season - Episode 70 “The Other Side of Anxiety.” on Crunchyroll!