This presentation will delve into the complex and often misunderstood world of fan fiction. Research is beginning to discover that both the reading and writing of fanfiction (fanfic) can have a positive impact on mental health. Authoring fanfic can be a type of journaling, where writers put their own struggles onto fictional characters, thereby reframing those issues and drawing strength and inspiration from their heroes prevailing. The extensive and uncensored variety of fiction available allows readers space to delve into any topics that resonate with them, from hurt/comfort, to processing trauma, to questioning of sexual orientation, to kink, and far beyond. The use of fan fiction as a coping skill and a means for self-reflection can be a powerful therapeutic tool to help with identification and communication of issues within session, as well as homework to encourage further exploration between sessions. In this presentation, Dr. Chrisha Anderson will explain what fan fiction is, why it’s so important to those engaged with it, and how clinicians can harness its power within the therapeutic relationship.
Dr. Chrisha Anderson is a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, author, fangirl, researcher, and gamer with a PhD in the study of human behavior. Chrisha has been a licensed clinician for more than a decade, and has worked with children, adolescents, and young adults in foster care and residential treatment settings. She currently sees clients ages 14 and up in a private practice environment, focusing on a broad spectrum of mental health concerns, and incorporating fiction, fandom, and geek culture into her clinical practice. As a doctoral candidate, Chrisha conducted research looking at the impact of online science fiction fandom involvement on women’s psychological well-being. She is passionate about discussion and exploration into ways in which fandom activity impacts mental health. Chrisha participates in convention and conference panels nationwide, co-hosts a podcast on emotional coping that focuses on the Supernatural fandom (“The Fangirl Business”), writes for a variety of organizations, and is on the board of Project FanCare (a non-profit organization aimed at teaching people how to use TV, film, and fandom to actively cope with depression, anxiety, and trauma). Chrisha can be found engaging in lively discussion with regards to any and all of these topics regularly on Twitter (@drfangirlphd).
Understanding and Utilizing Fan Fiction in Clinical Practice Video
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