Thursday, February 17, 2011

Superheroes Directive

Superheroes (Strengths-based telling of personal narratives OR developing a positive self image)
Date(s) completed: 2/8/11 - 2/22/11

Single or Multi Session?
Age of Group Members?
Any age (In this group it was adults)

Gender of group:Men and women

Number of members?
10-12 (any size would work though)

Type of site?Outpatient

Other relevant information about population or site?
Clients diagnosed with severe mental illness. The topic of the group is "Storytelling Through Art"

Materials Used?

Describe materials needed for directiveOptional prepped materials included blank comic book strips (boxes on the page to fill with comics), speech and thought bubbles, pictures of classic superheroes for reference

Directive Description:
As many know, superheroes often have a traumatic or troubling past.  Many superheroes have witnessed or suffered severe trauma (Batman saw his parents murdered).  Some superheroes have something about them that makes them different from their family and friends and may have been rejected due to these differences (X-Men).  Superheroes use their experiences and transform them into something good - Batman protects the vulnerable citizens of Gotham, the X-Men protect other "mutants" from persecution and advocate for their rights.  It is important to note that super-villains also experience similar histories to superheroes, so it is up to the person whether they use their experiences for good (Batman) or evil (Joker).

In this project you will create your own superhero based on yourself.  If you were a superhero, what would your superhero name be and what would your powers be?  Who would you protect and why?  You can draw yourself as a superhero, make a comic book, or be inspired to do something else with the project idea.

The goal of this project is to encourage the group participants to recognize their strengths (in spite of or because of their experiences).  For example, the creation of a fictional superhero may allow group members to see themselves as "survivors" rather than "victims."

Prior directives or prep work with group?n/a

Comments/questions/suggestions for improvement:
I thought this would be a one-day project but the group members really got into it, even the people who have a hard time focusing usually.  Some people weren't able to come up with their own superheroes but chose their favorites and made homages to them, explaining why they were their favorite superheroes.  It was pretty surprising (maybe shouldn't have been) how many fans of Wonder Woman were in the group - men and women.  There were a lot of metaphors that could be used for other groups - The Hulk was a great superhero for discussing anger management, for example.

Also, using this directive helped me win over a few of the male group members because I have a pretty decent working knowledge of superheroes.  I did some research on different superheroes' pasts, too.  The guys were impressed.  However, I felt it was also important to have pictures of female superheroes, which is kind of hard considering there aren't that many famous female superheroes (Wonder Woman, Bat Girl, Super Girl, etc), but the women in the group seemed to appreciate it.

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