Superheroes, science fiction, and fantasy tell a much more complex story than what meets the eye. Dr. Drea Letamendi, clinical psychologist, media consultant, TEDx Speaker, and former Interim Director of UCLA’s RISE center, talks with us today about the power of storytelling in the fictional media landscape– how storytelling accelerates empathy and helps audiences navigate their own personal experiences of joy, grief, resilience, and healing. 

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More about Dr. Drea Letamendi:

Dr. Drea

Dr. Drea Letamendi (she/her/ella) is a clinical psychologist, media consultant, and TEDx speaker with degrees and training from Cornell University, UCSD, and UCLA. For 3 years, Dr. Drea served as the Interim Director of the Resilience Center at UCLA known as “RISE.” As the Associate Director of Mental Health Training, Intervention, and Response in Residential Life, she continues to lead projects in the areas of resilience, crisis-response, and suicide prevention. Dr. Drea has a private practice as a behavioral health advisor for the gaming, visual effects, and entertainment media industries (Riot Games, Warner Bros., Marvel, and Disney). She has written publications about the positive impacts of media storytelling on mental health, as covered in the Atlantic, the Guardian, and the Los Angeles Times. She created and hosts The Arkham Sessions, a podcast about the psychology of Batman and other pop culture narratives. Her latest publication with Springer is titled, The Force Awakens: Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Using Star Wars