Exploring the dynamics of relationships and emotional processes of comic book characters for potential implications in family therapy: A content analysis approach
Engaging with clients who have difficulty in understanding and addressing their emotions can cause difficulty for therapists, specifically in working with adolescents who are likely to be resistant to therapy in general. Comic book therapy is an approach that can be utilized by a therapist to help an adolescent engage in therapy by processing through familiar emotions that the client observes in their favorite comic book characters. Using content analysis, the researcher coded a total of 14 graphic novels that were published by both DC and Marvel comics. The research presented in this dissertation indicates that there are a multitude of emotional expressions that are conveyed in comic books. Comic books also utilize an assortment of different mediums to convey emotion and utilize a variety of relational interactions to help characters express and convey their thoughts and emotions. The therapist can then utilize the examples provided by the researcher to aid in the breaking down of therapeutic and relational barriers to better improve a client’s overall emotional well-being. Over time, the practice of Comic book therapy can be fine-tuned to better serve a diverse population of clientele. The researcher also intends for the research to be a starting point for a database to be created that benefits therapists and clients alike by identifying narrative themes that can be utilized within the context of therapy.