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Alternative Title

Science fiction, fantasy, and Afrofuturism as modes of healing for communities of color

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School for Social Work


African Americans-Psychology, Psychotherapy, American literature-African American authors-Psychological aspects, American science fiction-Psychological aspects, American fantasy fiction-Psychological aspects, Oppression (Psychology), Bibliotherapy, Race-Psychological aspects, People of color, Counter-storytelling, Narrative therapy, Speculative fiction, Science fiction, Fantasy, Magical realism, Horror, Afrofuturism, Racial oppression, Racial trauma, Racial dynamics


Is science fiction a viable therapeutic mode of healing for communities of color? The continued oppression and erasure of people of color from the dominant narrative within the U.S. has detrimental effects on the psyche. Yet within this story also exists healing, joy, and resistance. This study explores how the mental health field may meet the needs of those most impacted by honoring their already-existing knowledge. The findings affirmed that science fiction as a mode of healing provides validation around experiences of oppression, language to conceptualize this, and the ability to imagine new realities and futures. Racial and identity dynamics were also found to play a critical role in the therapeutic dyad – alluding to the need for the mental health field to acknowledge and address the impact of racial trauma. In not attending to this, the profession is complicit in reenacting harm and furthering racial trauma for communities of color.




v, 89 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 80-82)