1st Edition

Superhero Grief The Transformative Power of Loss

Edited By Jill A. Harrington, Robert A. Neimeyer Copyright 2021
    294 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    294 Pages 4 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Superhero Grief uses modern superhero narratives to teach the principles of grief theories and concepts and provide practical ideas for promoting healing.

    Chapters offer clinical strategies, approaches, and interventions, including strategies based in expressive arts and complementary therapies. Leading researchers, clinicians, and professionals address major topics in death, dying, and bereavement, using superhero narratives to explore loss in the context of bereavement and to promote a contextual view of issues and relationship types that can improve coping skills.

    This volume provides support and psychoeducation to students, clinicians, educators, researchers, and the bereaved while contributing significantly to the literature on the intersection of death, grief, and trauma.

    Introduction: Finding Thanos in "Thanatology" and the Transformative Power of the Visual Arts Part I: Historical Backgrounds: Grief, Loss and The Creation of Superheroes 1. The Rippling Effects of the Holocaust: The Jewish Influence on the Development of Superheroes. 2. And Then Came Superman: Parallels with the Man of Steel and His Creators Part II: Understanding Superhero Grief Through Post Modern Grief Theory 3. Transformations in the Field of Grief and Bereavement: From Clark Kent to Beyond Kübler-Ross 4. Loss and the Heroic Quest for Meaning: A Conversation with Robert A. Neimeyer 5. Continuing Bonds Across the Universes: Superheroes and Enduring Connections. 6. Understanding Grieving Styles: Batman on the Couch 7. Bruce Wayne, Batman and Attachment-Informed Grief Work Part III: Types of Grief: Brief Case Studies of Superheroes 8. Deadpool and Anticipatory Grief 9. Superman and Secondary Losses 10. Magneto and Ambiguous Loss 11. Batman and Masked Grief 12. Wonder Woman and Delayed Grief 13. The Flash and Disenfranchised Grief 14. Iron Man and Chronic Grief 15. Avengers Infinity War and Endgame: Cumulative and Collective Grief Part IV: Grief and Culture: Cultural Influence in the Superhero Universes 16. A Tale of Two Funerals: Funeral Rites, Rituals and Customs Across the Superhero Universes 17. Black Panther: Exploring Grief, Ancestral Connection and the Duty to Carry-On Part V: Grief and Family Systems: Superheroes and Relationship Types 18. Observations on a Hero’s Response to Homicide 19. What Drax the Destroyer and Cable Help Us Understand About Grieving Fathers and Survivors of Familial Homicide 20. Parents and Caregivers: The Everyday Heroes Behind Superheroes 21. Katana: Spousal Bereavement and Continuing Bonds 22. Sibling Grief and Complex Relationships: Thor and the Death of Loki Part VI: Challenges in Bereavement: Facing Adversity 23. Deadpool 2 and Suicide After Bereavement: Lessons Learned from the Merc with a Mouth 24. Complicated Grief, Bruce Wayne and Batman: A Conversation with M. Katherine Shear 25. Traumatic Loss and How the Flash Could Benefit from Restorative Retelling Part VII: Posttraumatic Growth, Superheroes and Personal Stories Addressing the Five Factors 26. Posttraumatic Growth, Superheroes, and the Bereaved 27. Relating to Others: In the Aftermath of Loss, I am STORM 28. New Possibilities in Life: Superman and Finding Hope after Loss 29. Personal Strength: Combat Death, Love, Loss and the Emergence of the Wonder Woman Within 30. Spiritual Growth After Loss: Dr. Strange and My Spiritual Journey Amidst Profound Loss 31. Appreciation for Life: We Rise Like the Dark Knight Part VIII: Superheroes, Grief Leadership, Social Justice, and Advocacy 32. Grief Leadership: Examples from the Life and Service of Captain America 33. Parental Grief and Activism: On Becoming Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-man 34. X-Men: What They Teach Us about Oppression and Marginalization of the Bereaved Part IX: Superhero-based Strategies of Care: Interventions and Creative Approaches 35. Avengers Endgame: What It Can Teach Us about Individuals and Families Facing the End-of-Life 36. Childhood Grief and the Healing Power of Superheroes 37. Using Superheroes in Grief Counseling with Children and Adolescents 38. The Superpower of the Expressive Arts 39. Grief and the Masks We Wear: Secret Identities are Not Only for Superheroes 40. Art Therapy Superhero Dolls: Totems of Strength and Remembrance41. Mindfulness as Your Grief Superpower Part X: Conclusion 42. Finding Super Heroes All Around Us


    Jill A. Harrington, DSW, LCSW, is in private practice in the greater Washington, DC, area, where she works as an adjunct professor, grief educator, trainer, writer, and consultant.

    Robert A. Neimeyer, PhD, directs the Portland Institute for Loss and Transition; actively practices as a trainer, consultant, and coach; and has published extensively on grieving as a meaning-making process.

    "In this wonderful collection, Harrington and Neimeyer have brought together a league of skilled authors whose contributions enlarge our view of bereavement through the prism of contemporary superhero encounters with loss. This is a refreshingly original, clinically astute, playful, and scholarly volume. It is a book for clinicians, educators, and students as well as for the bereaved, those who treat them, and those who love good stories." — Simon Shimshon Rubin, PhD, professor of clinical psychology and director of the International Center for the Study of Loss, Bereavement and Human Resilience at the University of Haifa, Israel

    "The superhero connection makes this book accessible to a wide audience of people who have enjoyed these characters and who also want to help themselves or others to move through bereavement. Drs. Harrington and Neimeyer have put together what seems impossible: an entertaining way to learn about grief and loss."Richard Tedeschi, PhD, distinguished chair at the Boulder Crest Institute for Posttraumatic Growth, USA

    "The authors in Superhero Grief cast an intriguing and informative light on the potential transformative power of loss through the lens of the archetype of the superhero. From the impetus of tragedy, these mythical beings find power and purpose, providing lessons on loss for humanity. Thoughtful insight abounds for professionals and grieving people seeking sense-making of their own hero’s journey!"Donna L. Schuurman, EdD, FT, senior director of advocacy and training and executive director emeritus at The Dougy Center: The National Grief Center for Children and Families, USA