As a young lad, I adored the adventure books which allowed you to make your own path, and effectively create your own story. You made choices as you read through the book, which would ultimately decide your fate – some choices meant success and some meant failure (usually the latter in my case) – you may be familiar with this sort of novel:
“If you choose to fight the Dragon turn to Page 12, if you decide to run away turn to Page 65”
I treasured these so much that I still actually have these books at home in my bookcase. I enjoyed how you could read them again and again with a potential different outcome (especially if I was feeling particularly brave that day), and I was always impressed with how they were actually constructed (did they choose the page numbers for the next actions first, or lay the book out and then go back and add them in?).
So when I heard about a brand new book Therapy Quest, which embraced this style of writing and storytelling, but combined it with a practical therapy to help people to work through the challenges they may have in life, I was very excited! To coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week, I was fortunate to be asked to contribute to the Book Tour which launched the new title.
Therapy Quest has been written by Dr Janina Scarlet, a Licensed Clinical Psychologist, whose own story is pretty special – after surviving Chernobyl radiation and anti-Semitic persecution in Ukraine, Janina moved to the United States as a refugee aged 12 and fell in love with the concept of Superheroes – many of those survived radiation and persecution and used their abilities to help others. They weren’t victims, they were survivors.
Since then, Dr Scarlet works to treat mental illness with research-supported Superhero Therapy, this unique form takes evidence-based therapies and integrates characters from so-called ‘geek’ cultures including fantasy, comic books, video game and sci fi.
The adventure brings you together with new friends who are each going through their own struggles as you quest together to learn how to cope with difficult experiences, from a Minotaur’s struggle to come to terms with his wife’s terminal illness – to a Vampire with an eating disorder. Together you must support each other, and challenge your own inner demons, if you have any hope of challenging the sorceress Mallena.
Through the exciting adventure, the reader’s choices can earn or lose Courage, Wisdom and Inner Strength points. Each choice on the journey is based on a real psychological therapy that the reader can apply to cope with real-life situations, such as managing anxiety, depression or other difficult experiences.
I really enjoyed this book. It was so different to what I normally read, even in the genre (you can find a recent example of another self-help book I reviewed here), and gave practical tips on methods to face fear, deal with difficult thoughts and situations, and it was written in a way that is absolutely fitting with the fantasy and adventure genre.
I personally think that this could be a great resource for younger people, as well as adults, to deal with difficulties – it’s a self-help book with a difference thanks to the interactivity which combines self-help with a fantasy novel.
The plot is engaging, and whilst I didn’t always track how many points I gained (for Inner Strength, Wisdom or Courage) it didn’t detract from the experience at all. I found Therapy Quest a real page-turner which flowed well and was authentic to the book type – a clear nod to Dr Scarlet’s own love for both the Superhero genre, overlaid with her skills and expertise as a Clinical Psychologist.
You can buy Therapy Quest here. I would love to find out what you thought of the book from my review, and whether it is something you would read!
I received a copy of the book but no payment for this unbiased feature.