Dr. O’Connor practices psychology at Southeast Psych in Charlotte, NC. He has his patients read comic books and discuss various plot points with them. In a “Ask Me Anything” segment on a site called Reddit, he explained how a 17 year old gang member with a history of violence and substance abuse managed to point out a panel in the comic Irredemable, and made a very precise connection to how he felt about the world.
Even though the patients would rather read Marvel comics, O’Connor believes that DC comics have better elements. I think he feels this works better with DC because DC characters have more of an internal struggle it seems. The monologues for DC comics also are more oriented For example, one can connect with coping and loss like in Batman with his parent’s death. Another example can be with Superman and feeling alone, being one of the last of his kind. I feel that the patients want to read Marvel comics more because they seem to be more action oriented. While Marvel comics are more action oriented, they seem to lack more of the psychological elements that are needed for this instance. An exception could be the Planet Hulk storyline, patients who read this can feel a sense of being alienated, and feeling un-human. Another reason comic books would be a good idea to work with this is because comic books are easy to read. And with youth, this would be even a better reason for them to benefit from this.
Like what one in the comments pointed out, this indeed can be similar to Art Therapy. It differs in the sense that Art Therapy is used with the basis of making art. The main difference is that in this instance the therapy is done with looking at the art and the dialogue that goes along with it. So as you see, this is yet another good way to use comic books besides for just entertainment.