Title: Therapy Quest
Author: Dr Janina Scarlet
My Rating: 5 Star
When I was a tween (long before the term ‘tween’ was invented), I loved the Choose Your Own Adventure series that allowed the reader to decide the outcome of the story. I always chose the adventure novels like Dragons by Jim Razzi, where I had to follow instructions such as ‘if you want to join a tournament turn to page 10’ or ‘if you want to fight the dragon turn to page 52’. You could finish reading the book and then start all over again for an entirely different experience.
When I discovered Janina Scarlet’s book, Therapy Quest all those childhood memories came flooding back. Here was a role-playing book for grown-ups which incorporated my two favourite topics; fantasy and personal development!
There’s a warning label attached to this book which reads WARNING: This Fantasy Book May Change Your Reality. A bold statement and yet I found it to be true. Therapy Quest is indeed a revolutionary self-help book that weaves fantasy elements together with self-help therapy. It’s like going on a road-trip with Gandalf but talking through ‘life stuff’ on the way.
Scarlet creates fully rounded characters, and her descriptive prose is excellent. I liked the addition of a few black and white images which also took me back to those carefree childhood days. The idea of Therapy Quest is to join the characters as they endeavour to save the world from Mallena, the evil sorceress. Anka is the seer who begins your quest by taking you to HERE where you meet a mix of loyal friends and companions.
As you travel through the book, you collect points (courage, inner strength, and wisdom). You can also lose points if you choose to avoid certain situations. I kept a tally of my score as I worked through the book – another nerdy throwback to my younger years! You need a total of 50 points to face the final challenge.
The challenges are woven into the fantasy story. For example; you have to decide how to deal with the evil faceless hags who are the negative thoughts you play over and over in your mind like ‘I’m a failure’.
When you make the right choice in your quest and achieve your points the following chapter explores that particular self-help theme. I particularly liked the Mindfulness Spell. This is told in a familiar format you would normally find in any self-help book. Once the ‘spell’ or lesson is learned you are sent back to your quest and pick up the fantasy element once again.
Therapy Quest made me sit up and think about certain areas of my personal development. Embracing changes in my life, being more mindful, not acting on impulse, and understanding my core values are all valuable lessons I’ll take away with me. It’s a very clever book (I wish I’d written it!!)
I thoroughly enjoyed reading Therapy Quest. It allowed me to return to my childhood while exploring my adult hang-ups.
The only negative I have is with the dialogue for Anka. Written with an accent, I found it pulled me out of the story at times.
If you are a reluctant self-help fan, then you’ll love this book. It allows you to escape into that safe space of fiction while simultaneously working on your needs. Allow yourself to be the superhero of your story and grab a copy.
Did you ever want to be a hero? Have you ever dreamed of going on an epic quest to destroy monsters, defeat evil forces and fly on the back of a dragon?
This interactive new self-help book puts you, the reader, in a fantasy world where every decision you make and every path you take will influence the outcome of your journey.
When the seer Anka spirits you away to the world of Here, you find yourself proclaimed the Chosen One – the hero everyone is relying on to defeat the evil sorceress Mallena before she destroys everything. But you don’t feel like a hero, do you?
If you choose to accept this quest, you will have an opportunity to learn the skills that you need and put together a crew of loyal friends and companions to help you with your journey. The skills are based on acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), which has been shown through research to help people overcome depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain, addiction disorders and many other common problems.
Your journey will be full of danger, loss and strange creatures, but it will also be full of excitement, adventure and fun, and will let you form life-long bonds of friendship, which no curses can break. This book is your call to adventure, an invitation to be the hero in your own story.
About the Author:
Dr Janina Scarlet is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who works to help treat mental illnesses through Superhero Therapy. This unique form takes evidence based therapies and integrates characters from geek culture, including fantasy, science fiction, video games and comic books.
After surviving Chernobyl radiation and anti-Semitic persecution in Ukraine, Janina moved to the United States as a refugee at age 12. It was there that she fell in love with superheroes. They also survived radiation and used their abilities to help others – they weren’t victims, but survivors. Janina has dedicated her life to helping others. She has written multiple self-help books, spoken at conferences, and regularly works with patients suffering from anxiety, depression, and PTSD.