THE ARKHAM SESSIONS, by Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the observation and clinical analysis of the characters in BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES and DOOM PATROL.

If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is! Dr. Drea discusses the concept of different trauma responses based on the neurobiology of survivorship. What does fight, flight, and freeze look like among the X-Men? And is it possible that some behaviors, like Rogue's determined activism and Professor X's protectiveness, can be considered adaptive styles of "fight"? 


As the X-Men rebuild their academy, Rogue goes on a quest to find a cure for her mutation. This episode claims no resolution to the global problems dividing mutants and non-mutants, but lends an insight into our ability to feel empowered, accepted, and valued in our different bodies.  
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_223_X-Men_The_Cure.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

The X-Men discover their home completely destroyed and set out to search for the person (or mutant) responsible for the attack. They encounter two suspects--Colossus, a Russian immigrant who is helping construction workers; and Juggernaut, a titanic super-powered villain committing crimes in the city in order to lure Professor X out of hiding. It is revealed that Juggernaut is Professor X's half-brother and is harboring resentment toward his more accomplished sibling. 

For this year's WonderCon, we pulled together some amazing old and new friends to examine the psychology of the X-Men. Included in that list of friends was original X-MEN: THE ANIMATED SERIES showrunner Eric Lewald; X-MEN: TAS writer Julia Lewald; X-MEN '97 writer JB Ballard; and X-MEN superfan and co-founder of Hero's Journey Fitness, located in Burbank, California, David Nett!

A small group of X-Men are captured and taken to labor camps on the island of Genosha. This episode depicts multiple responses to oppressive-related stress, ranging from learned helplessness to psychological fortitude to organized rebellion, and carries a throughline reminiscent of real-life liberation movements led by civil rights leaders: "knowledge is power."
Join Patreon to watch the exclusive video version now!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_220_X-Men_Slave_Island.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

Feeling rejected, Wolverine leaves the X-Mansion on a search to find some inner peace. Meanwhile, the rest of the X-Men are sent by Professor X to investigate the island of Genosha, a seemingly pleasant vacation destination rumored to be welcoming to mutants. Both quests raise tensions related to ingroup and outgroup relationships.
Dr. Drea also revisits the practice of "trigger warnings" and whether those disclaimers are necessary or effective. 
To see the video version of the podcast, join Patreon now!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_219_X-Men_Cold_Vengeance.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

The X-Men discover an underground band of Morlocks, a gang of mutant misfits who perceive themselves as "too unsightly" to live and socialize among non-mutant humans, so they live in the tunnels below the city. With Scott and Jean captured, the X-Men set out to rescue them, but must also address their own safety, specifically, psychological safety.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_218_X-Men_Captive_Hearts.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

To celebrate the holiday season, The Arkham Sessions takes a detour back to Gotham City! Merry Little Batman (2023), a new animated film by Warner Bros. and DC Studios (but released on Amazon!), is an Elseworld holiday special that takes place on the night before Christmas. Bruce Wayne has retired to focus his attention on raising his son, Damian, in what has been a crime-free Gotham. However, little Damian's obsession with becoming a superhero lands him into a lot of trouble--and triggers the resurgence of the city's most contemptible villains.

See the exclusive video version of the podcast by joining our Patreon!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_217_Merry_Little_Batman.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

In "Deadly Reunions," we learn that Professor Charles Xavier (Professor X) uses an incredible superpower involving mind-melding and probing the memories of his students. Though he calls it "therapy," Professor X's methods are uncomfortably invasive, coercive, and arguably unethical.
Watch the video podcast by joining Patreon now!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_216_X-Men_Deadly_Reunions.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

In the third episode, the X-Men are introduced to the formidable villain, Magneto, a militant idealist who crusades against bigotry and oppression of mutants. His mission is to help mutants replace humans as the dominant species on earth--by any means necessary. 
Watch the video version of this podcast exclusively at our Patreon now!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_215_X-Men_Enter_Magneto.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

Grab your Hot Pocket and Cactus Cooler, it's another 90's X-Men episode! The X-Men are thrown into crisis, collectively grieving the loss of a beloved member, uncertain how to rescue the survivor, and racked with guilt about their decisions on the battleground.

Join our Patreon to see the video podcast!

Debuting just one month after Batman: The Animated Series, the first episode of X-Men: The Animated Series depicts a foster youth, Jubilation Lee--or "Jubilee"--who, like most teens, seeks independence, creative freedom, and the experience of belongingness. Her struggles are amplified when she is captured by the Sentinels and subsequently rescued by the X-Men, a mutant superhero team led by the avuncular telepath Charles Xavier. Professor X's School for the Gifted is a sanctuary for mutants, complete with institutional curriculum, advisors, and adult supervision. But is Jubilee ready to accept help from society's number one enemy?

Join our Patreon to see the video podcast!

Star Trek: Generations (1994) resurrects familiar, core Trek film themes such as legacy, family, and mortality. Dr. Drea and Brian discuss these themes, as well as the Nexus and its very real philosophical origin. Plus, Brian gets to discuss his take on the Nexus and how it might continue to affect the Trek universe...even to this day.
Join our Patreon today!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_212_Star_Trek_Generations.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) marks the final adventure for the crew of the 1966 incarnation of the franchise. In this episode, we take a look at the Cold War allegory of this film, as well as the characters' arcs since our "introduction" to them in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Plus, Dr. Drea completes her ranking of these films! Will you be surprised?

To join our Patreon and vote on what to cover next, join here


Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) is an ambitious film depicting a galactic pilgrimage in search of God. But is Spock's half-brother, Sybok, a true ambassador of God? A miracle healer? Or is he a cult leader? Or a delusional dreamer? Listen now to find out!

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) doesn't take itself too seriously, but it humbles us by asking us to de-center the human culture and the things we over-value, to recognize the triviality of some of our human norms and the way we alienate those who are different, and to stretch our minds to be open and accepting of the unknown.

This episode was recorded in front of our live Discord audience. To join our Discord channel, click here.

In this special episode of the podcast, we take a look at the spectacular third season of Star Trek: Picard with two of its writer/producers, Christopher Monfette and Matt Okumura. This episode was recorded as a panel at San Diego Comic-Con 2023 and doesn't have the best audio, but we want to thank Garrard Whatley for working his magic and getting it to where it is. 

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984), though not as well executed as Star Trek II, successfully carries its big emotional moments, from the shocking murder of Kirk's son to the heart-crushing destruction of the Enterprise. Loss after loss, the story weighs heavily on anyone rooting for Kirk. Here, Dr. Drea describes the risks he faces psychologically, due to the shock and suddenness of his personal losses and explains the differences between typical grief and traumatic grief.

In our analysis of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, we join Admiral James T. Kirk and his Starfleet friends as they are once again pulled into a risky adventure. Since his infamous attempted coup on the Enterprise 15 years ago, Khan Noonien Singh is noticeably more emotional, ragged from years of hard survivorship on an inhospitable planet, but he's also deeply preoccupied with revenge. But as both the film and science can attest, achieving revenge is rarely as satisfying or as personally rewarding as we hope it will be.

When the survival of the whole planet is at stake, how much do purpose, logic, wisdom, and emotion matter? Do we rely on gut instincts or unfiltered logic to make critical decisions? The original cast of Star Trek reunite to represent the voyages of the Starship Enterprise in their first film, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979). Dr. Drea especially observes the internal struggle building within Spock, who is recently rejected by his Vulcan community due to his inability to suppress emotions to an extreme degree as his culture dictates; his elders chastise him for allowing feelings like yearning, friendship, and exhilaration to distract or break his mental discipline.

The last film in the Star Wars sequel trilogy, The Rise of Skywalker (2019), seems to ret-con or reduce plot points in the previous film; and serves insights about the core theme of intergenerational trauma!

In one of the most divisive Star Wars films to date, The Last Jedi (2017) serves an unapologetic tale of the embittering consequences and casualties of perpetual war, reminding audiences that there are no true winners; just power grabs. Those who are truly liberated are the elite, the profiteers, and the arms dealers who benefit from people stuck in their ideologies. In totality, the film's messages become enticing, if not exhilarating: Find true peace by shifting the power dynamics. Abandon traditions, ties, legacies, and all the harms that come with them. Burn it down. Burn it all down.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_203_The_Last_Jedi_1.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Batman: Mask of the Phantasm with its co-director, Eric Radomski; and our very special guest, podcaster and comic writer Ashley Victoria Robinson (Geek History Lesson)! 

To vote on what we're covering after the nine Star Wars films, join our Patreon here!

You can find Ashley on social media as @AshleyVRobinson on Twitter and Instagram!

You can find her podcast here!

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) resurrects a familiar uphill battle against the merciless and oppressive power of the second uprising of the Empire, the First Order. However, as Star Wars is more about relationships than politics, The Force Awakens focuses on the psychological struggles of its young warriors: Rey, Finn, Poe, and Kylo Ren.
Join the conversation on The Arkham Sessions discord:

We're celebrating our 200th episode by presenting our live Discord episode, which followed a shared screening of Batman Forever! Join us, as we chat about the questionable ethics of Dr. Chase Meridian; the differences between experiencing trauma as a child versus as an adult; and a lot more!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_200_Batman_Forever.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 12:00pm PDT

Return of the Jedi (1983), the final film of the classic Star Wars space opera trilogy, is packed with psychology, layering in lessons on family systems theory, Oedipal themes, social obedience, and human violence. We learn about our many selves as exemplified by the masks we wear. From the first to last scene, the film is telling many truths about the characters we have been following, their truest motivations and intentions.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_199_Return_of_the_Jedi.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Set after the events that take place in Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back (1980) continues the saga between the evil Empire and the determined, scrappy resistance fighters in the Rebel Alliance. Although this chapter is just as adventurous as the first, the film introduces steeper obstacles and darker threats that create more mature plotlines and give it dramatic weight. The beloved film sets in the themes we will come to know Star Wars for--the seduction of power, the desolation of war, and the heartache of relationships. Here, Dr. Drea describes the parallels between Yoda's teachings and psychotherapy and talks about Person-Centered Therapy (also called Rogerian Therapy), a non-directive, empathic style of counseling in which the therapist encourages the client to explore self-understanding, communicates a relationship of unconditional positive regard, and empowers them to reach their full potential.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_198_The_Empire_Strikes_Back.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

We're continuing our analysis of the original Star Wars (1977) film and weigh in on the utility of the "Hero's Journey" literary paradigm as it relates to whimsical space fantasy.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_197_Star_Wars_ANH_Part_2.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Happy Halloween, Gothamites! In this very special episode, we're breaking down the animated adaptation of Jeph Loeb's and Tim Sale's iconic THE LONG HALLOWEEN!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_22The_Long_Halloween22_Special.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00am PDT

In part one of this two-part analysis, we discuss the framework of Joseph Campbell's "Hero's Journey" and map the characters, plot line, and relationships to this universal monomyth. We focus on Luke Skywalker, the inexperienced, sheltered farmboy seeking something bigger than his humble, dull life on the remote planet of Tatooine. But the shallowness of his search for greatness, how privileged he is, and whether he deserves legacy becomes debatable.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_195_Star_Wars_ANH.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

The new Star Wars series, ANDOR, serves us a mature drama without the wholesomeness of lightsabers, Jedi wizards, and baby Yoda. Cassian Andor is a marginalized laborer in a small mining town who uses his resourcefulness and tenacity to survive during the slow, vicious rise of the Imperial dictatorship. Diving into Andor's story requires a candid and nuanced look into violent behavior; Dr. Drea reviews the main "modes" of violence and names the drivers leading to targeted violence seen in the show.

To hear the rest of our analyses of Andor, join the "Batman Beyond" tier at!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_194_22Andor_Episodes_1-422.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

In our discussion about Star Wars: Rogue One, Dr. Drea discusses how both American history and psychological research point to non-violence as the most effective approach to sustainable social change; but nothing about an equal rights fight is ever truly, fundamentally, peaceful.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_193_Rogue_One.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

We has such an amazing time at San Diego Comic-Con, and were so thankful to have some very special guests join us for our panel. Melissa Flores is the writer of the brand-new comic, The Dead Lucky, from Image Comics; Livio Ramondelli is the writer/artist of The Kill Lock, from IDW Comics; and Jeremy Adams is doing some of his very best work as the writer of DC's The Flash comics. Together, they share how they keep mental health in mind when writing for a diverse, complicated audience. It's fun and insightful, and we're thrilled to share our first live panel after a three-year hiatus from San Diego! 

Obi-Wan Kenobi (2022) is a series that takes place 10 years after the uprising of the Sith, and the birth of Darth Vader. When Kenobi faces his old apprentice--now, an unrecognizable masked, dark figure--he searches for a connection with Anakin.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_191_22Obi-Wan_Kenobi22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

In the ambitious 2018 film, Solo: A Star Wars Story, there's some familiarity about this younger version of Han Solo. But is it necessary? And did we learn anything new about this original trilogy's character?
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_190_Solo_A_Star_Wars_Story.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

The final film of the Star Wars prequel trilogy, Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005), shows us the final deterioration of Jedi Anakin Skywalker and his fall to the Dark Side.

Star Wars: Attack of the Clones (2002) takes place ten years after Anakin Skywalker was rescued from slavery by the Jedi community and taken in as an apprentice. But he is increasingly angry, frustrated, and embittered, and his impatience and selfishness grow to a worrisome level. Dr. Drea explains the complex factors that can lead to the kind of destructive behavior seen in Anakin.

Enough criticism has been voiced about "the prequels," but what does Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) offer in lessons of personal, relational, and spiritual well-being?

Avengers: Endgame (2019) is heavy and full of heartache. The "snap," the massive extermination of billions of people, amounts to the kind of interpersonal trauma not yet seen in the MCU, but certainly one we can relate to now.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_186_22Avengers_Endgame22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 11:00pm PDT

Brian and Drea rewatch Captain Marvel with the explicit intention of picking up on its problems and check their own biases, perspectives, and expectations. How does a story of resilience--one that shows the power of endurance, grit, and self-confidence--fall so flat?

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_185_22Captain_Marvel22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

In this episode, we talk about Ant-Man and the Wasp, but really focus our attention on Ghost and Janet Van Dyne, the two characters who are clearly suffering the most. Or, at least, should be.

We hit our very first in-person WonderCon in three years! And we couldn't be more thankful to be able to speak about the psychology of Matt Reeves's new movie The Batman with our very special guests, History of the Batman's Londyn Jackson and Heroes Reforged's Hector Navarro.

The inevitable is here. It's time for INFINITY WAR, so we're discussing Thanos and the Dark Triad!

The Marvel film Black Panther (2018) marks a turning point in the comic book cinematic landscape of predominantly white superheroes. The film highlights real global tensions such as the national hoarding of resources and gatekeeping of outsiders; at its core, though, the film is about individual tensions: belongingness, identity, and family.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_181_22Black_Panther22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

Once again, Drea gets the chance to analyze Loki! But, in addition to this fan favorite, we also take a close look at Hulk; Scrapper-142; Odin's firstborn, Hela; and, of course, Thor himself! Plus, we discuss the erasure of Asgard's history by the conquerors themselves.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_180_22Thor_Ragnarok22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

Spider-Man: Homecoming is a celebration of youthhood, an invitation to find gratitude for our younger days, and to remember what it was like before things got ...complicated. Dr. Drea points out that some early life experiences do accelerate a teenager's psychosocial growth and maturity, including ones that offer autonomy, self-sufficiency, increased responsibilities, and worldly exposure.

Bounding several fictional planets across the far-reaching expanse of space, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 (2017) is a journey very close to home. The film handles serious topics such as family violence, abuse, child trafficking, and abandonment through the vulnerability and imperfection of its characters.

Doctor Strange ascends as a master of the mystic arts, but he also demonstrates the importance of the growth mindset - our mental openness, flexibility, and curiosity. Join us, as we explore Dr. Stephen Strange's fall from grace and rise to potential Sorcerer Supreme!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_177_22Doctor_Strange22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

At the Black Widow's core is the question of what's real or not real. Natasha's family, though forced together under subterfuge, became meaningful, interconnected, bonded. "Family" is the people around us who give us comfort, connection and belongingness and who see us for who we are. Connectedness, not heredity, has the power to counterbalance adversity.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_176_22Black_Widow22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:00pm PDT

In this MEGA holiday episode, which focuses on Captain America: Civil War, we discuss the reality and morality of various "registration acts," and the fictional and real-life elements of brainwashing. 

We're taking a look at the MCU's 2015 installment of Ant-Man, starring the ever-charming and never-aging Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, and Evangeline Lilly. It's a fun romp; but does it fall flat emotionally? Listen in to find out!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_174_22Ant-Man22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Earth's mightiest heroes face off with an A.I. gone wild; Ultron evolves past his original programming and becomes a formidable, violent robot seeking to destroy humans so that his super-sentient army of bots can take over as Earth's more suitable occupants. We evaluate Ultron's plan - is Ultron a global terrorist, or just saving earthlings from their own natural course of destroying one another through warfare, genocide, and terrestrial destruction?  The debate, best illustrated by Cap and Tony, is one of control and self-determination.

Through Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, we learn the power of family, whether it's our origin families or the ones we find along the way. 

Captain America is living with depression. And that's okay. Take a listen to our analysis of Captain America: The Winter Soldier!

Should this episode be titled Thor: The Dark World? Or Loki: The Dark World? Decide for yourself, after you tune in to hear Drea's ongoing analysis of Loki and his moments of closeness and compassion with members of his family to understand the concept of Family Systems Theory.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_170_22Thor_The_Dark_World22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

The seventh film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), Iron Man 3, shows a burnt out Tony Stark struggling with the traumatic ramifications of the interdimensional, interplanetary war seen in The Battle of New York (The Avengers). Drea and Brian first examine the sociopolitical context of Iron Man 3, which places a backdrop of intensified ideas around middle eastern terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, and a singular disconcerting extremist leader (in this case, the Mandarin). Then, they discuss the signs and possibility that Tony Stark has PTSD from the near-death experience and life-threatening events of the Battle of New York.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_169_22Iron_Man_322.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 6:00pm PDT

We wrap up our very first Marvel "season" of the podcast with our enthusiastic review of the Disney+ series, Loki. After covering all six films in Phase I of the MCU, we proceed by following the alternate timeline that plucks Loki out of the Endgame timeline and propels him toward his quest for self-discovery and, of course, glorious purpose!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_168_22Loki22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Knowing how to build a strong team is so important, especially during a crisis. We rewatch the 2012 Marvel film The Avengers and look for psychological tools that could be valuable to us, as our world grapples with its own formidable crisis.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_167_22The_Avengers22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

Captain America symbolizes equality, justice, and fairness for all, but he could easily be minimized to a simple ideology. We rewatch the 2011 film CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER and explore/question why so many Marvel fans choose Cap as their favorite superhero.

In this episode, we welcome the Norse Mythology and Shakespearean overtones that flavor the Marvel movie, Thor (2011)!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_165_22Thor22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 6:00pm PDT

We're reviewing the third film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Iron Man 2 (2010); and discuss the 5 Stages of Grief, as they relate to Tony's impending death by blood poisoning. We also discuss our own "hype songs!" Learn what they are by listening now!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_164_22Iron_Man_222.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 7:00pm PDT

"You won't like me when I'm angry."
But...what if you're just ...excited? We rewatch The Incredible Hulk (2008) from Phase 1 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and discuss the disorders most laypersons and mental health specialists try to assign to the Hulk.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_163_22The_Incredible_Hulk22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

We begin our dive into the MCU with 2008's IRON MAN. We discuss the personality similarities and differences between Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne; his damaged ego and shift in vision; assess for post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, and depression; and weigh in on why his candid, unapologetic nature serves as less a cover for his unease and more of an indicator of his unstoppable drive toward social action.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_162_22Iron_Man22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 6:00pm PDT

At the request of our loyal Patrons, Dr. Drea and Brian finally take the opportunity to break down the psychology of Zack Snyder's Justice League!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_161_22The_Snyder_Cut22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:00pm PDT

We wrap up our coverage of the inaugural season of Steven Universe and notice that, compared to earlier episodes, the storytelling is more arc-forming and that the stakes are higher--disasters, losses, and crises have very clear consequences. 

Things are kicking into high gear! In this batch of episodes, we're finally able to analyze Garnet; Stevonnie; and the traumatic past of Amethyst. Steven Universe has it all!

We descend further into the Steven Universe adventure with our coverage of 10 more episodes of the beloved series. During this episode, Drea picks up on a pattern in Steven's social interactions--when others make jokes or use sarcasm, Steven often misses the intent and takes the comments seriously. His literal approach prompted us to wonder if he has features of Autism.

Brian and Drea focus on Pearl, the maternal or "big sister" figure to the group. Best characterized as very organized, mature, and responsible, Pearl is also seen as overly rigid, perfectionistic, stern, and domineering. In our discussion, we share why this personality profile can lead to rejection; and yet, when more deeply investigated, Pearl's personality is quite layered and nuanced.

In this episode, we dive into the psychology of Amethyst! Is she lazy? Aggressive? Or just misunderstood? Dr. Drea and Brian take on the Purple Puma herself; and even uncover which of the Crystal Gems Drea fears she may be!


The podcast embarks on a new chapter, as we begin the journey of exploring the beloved animated show, Steven Universe! Using the Big 5 Personality traits as a model, we discuss Steven's strengths and features; taking into account how much of his personality may have been shaped by his environment and past life events.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_155_22Steven_Universe_1-522.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 2:00pm PDT

In our coverage of the third and final film in the Nolan trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, Drea and Brian connect the events surrounding Bane's violent coup to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol that took place on January 6, 2021. With a focus on explaining the fundamental causes of real-world terrorism, Drea outlines the psychological mechanisms involved in political radicalization and extremism, and clarifies widely held myths about the role of mental illness as a factor.

"And here we go!"

After several years of exploring the psychology of Batman, Brian and Drea finally discuss Christopher Nolan's acclaimed film, The Dark Knight.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_153_22The_Dark_Knight22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 4:00pm PDT

Brian and Drea take listeners back to 2005 to revisit the well-received live-action film, Batman Begins. What does Batman Begins teach us about our relationship with fear? What can we do when we are stifled by fear, worry, or panic? Listen to the show for suggestions on how to manage and maintain emotional well-being.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_152_22Batman_Begins22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 1:00pm PDT

It's the finale of Doom Patrol's inaugural season. How have our characters progressed? Or regressed? Is Niles the ultimate baddie? We cover one last episode, before moving onto brand-new things!

In the realm of narrative psychology, our life story isn't just a mundane list of facts--it's the way we integrate our experiences and events internally. Drea and Brian explore the second-to-last episode in their analysis of Doom Patrol: Season 1!

The Doom Patrol finally meets Flex Mentallo, Man of Muscle Mystery!

As we continue to discuss these characters and their feelings of deep regret, we talk about the importance of looking back at mistakes and the dilemma of "cancel culture." With Doom Patrol giving us good--yet still chaotic--role models, we address these challenges and give some tips that might help listeners manage their own spaces toward safety and self-betterment. 

To celebrate Juneteenth, we've decided to analyze the first episode of HBO's WATCHMEN; which introduced many people to the existence of the very real Tulsa Race Riots (or "Black Wall Street Massacre") of 1921. In this episode, we take a look at this historical event and discuss its use in this series, by showrunner Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers). We also cover what it means to be an ally, correctly and incorrectly.

How reliable are our memories? Science and fiction intersect in interesting ways in this episode of The Arkham Sessions!

In this episode, we draw upon the experiences of Doom Patrol heroes, Negative Man and Robot Man, as they revisit their mistakes and discover how to end the pain they're holding onto. For Cliff, this means meeting his estranged daughter and facing some hard decisions about whether to be in her life. For Larry, he has an opportunity to tell the man he has loved all his life what he truly meant to him. And Cyborg? Well, he's doing a little psychological dissecting of his own as he forcefully slices into his bicep out of fear of finding out whether he is more machine than man. Hear what we have to say by listening to the show!

The term pogonophile refers to a person who has an obsessive love of beards. We discuss this concept and go down a few hairy rabbit holes in this episode centering around a new character, The Beard Hunter. 


This episode of Doom Patrol centers entirely around (and in) Jane's psyche. With 64 different personalities, Jane could easily be a textbook example of the mental health condition known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (or Multiple Personality Disorder). But there's far more to this story. 

Hero's Journey Fitness can be found here

When asked for help, Larry and Vic visit Danny the Street, a benevolent, sentient street--yes, street--that acts as a mecca for the disenfranchised; with abilities to help you become the person you truly are. Additionally, Cliff and Rita find themselves trying to stop the wedding of Karen--a lovesick alter of Jane's--and the poor soul she has trapped in her spell. This episode is about the importance of honoring your true, authentic self and we even explore the possibility of a familiar disorder for Karen.
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Fanbase Press:

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Hero Within:

The gang has learned that Mr. Nobdy is using its members' sordid pasts against them. Determined to avoid collapsing the way the original Doom Patrol once did, Cliff demands the group sits down for "therapy." Drea discusses the concept of group therapy, while she breaks down each member's own trauma. Plus, we unveil the options for what we analyze next! Tune in, to learn how you can help us decide!

And, yes; you heard correctly... Brian's dad has written a book! If you love the idea of dragons existing in the real, present-day mountains of North Carolina, you're gonna love A Dragon Under the Mountain.

Finally, this episode is dedicated to our dear friend, a brilliant writer of animation, David Wise, who passed away earlier this week.

In examining this episode of Doom Patrol, we talk about the ethics of entangling romance with psychotherapy. We also discuss the field of psychology and the emerging counseling interventions known under the umbrella of "energy psychology."  From healing crystals to tapping, we examine various fringe psychotherapeutic practices in order to better understand the real from the fantasy.

Add a little dark humor, several talking animals and insects, and a some intense flashbacks, and you'll get this bizarre episode of Doom Patrol! Our dark heroes are struggling to save the world, now that the apocalypse they were warned about begins to emerge as a real threat. Do the needs of the many truly outweigh the needs of the few? We discuss the trolley problem and announce our brand-new Patreon - a special treat for Gothamites who listen to the Arkham Sessions!  



Inter-dimensional portals. A battle with an army made of unsent letters. A singing horse head. Cyborg's inflated ego. Our examination of the show Doom Patrol moves forward with one of the oddest episodes yet!

The team goes to Paraguay to rescue the Chief, but instead, come across the infamous lab created by Heinrich von Fuchs--which is now a spa-like experience for all of your customized metaphysical needs. This episode is all about control. Who's in it? And who's not? Visit our new shop ( for t-shirts, stickers, totes, and more!

In this episode, we get to focus on Robot Man and his relationship with Crazy Jane, the girl with 64 individual personalities--each with its own set of powers. We also meet Cyborg, a hero who's trying to live up to a promise his mother will never hear. Meanwhile, we dive further into the deep, dark recesses of Rita and Larry's psyches, as they explore an unusual dimension with their new cybernetic ally.

The time has finally come! Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward begin their analysis of DC Universe's Doom Patrol! Join us, as we discuss Robotman, Elasti-Woman, Negative Man, and each of their lives and traumas leading up to this glorious moment!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_136_22Doom_Patrol_Pilot22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 3:11pm PDT

After a couple of weeks at the top of the box office, Drea and Brian finally get to cover Joaquin Phoenix's take on the Clown Prince of Crime in Todd Phillips' Joker. Up first, we get into a little conversation about our thoughts on the film; followed by Drea's complete Los Angeles Comic Con panel with History of the Batman's Londyn Jackson!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_135_22Joker22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 3:03pm PDT

Drea's panel on parasocial relationships, from New York Comic Con 2019, "I Love You 3000: Managing Real Feelings About Fictional Characters," with guest panelists Dan Slott (Spider-Man); Danielle Paige (Dorothy Must Die) and Kieron Gillen (Wicked + Divine). Moderated by the Daily Dot's Michelle Jaworski.

There's a sinister new presence in Gotham. He has a grudge and... he appears to know Batman's alter ego. But how? It's a mystery that must be solved, before Bruce Wayne's world comes crashing down. It's the animated adaptation of one of the most popular Batman stories ever told and we're analyzing it--and the original book--on this episode!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_133_22Hush22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:48pm PDT

Batman returns to Metropolis to stop Ra's al Ghul from draining the Man of Steel of his strength, once again, prolonging life for the villain. But we explore alternatives to Ra's' addiction to life. We also question Talia's loyalty and Lois' and Superman's cultural sensitivity. Finally, we discuss Brian's Death Clock. Wait, what?! All of that, plus the start date for our analysis of DOOM PATROL, in this episode!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_132_22The_Demon_Reborn22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:59pm PDT

In an effort to uncover the truth about Bruce Wayne's disappearance and dismantle the new criminal regime in Gotham City, Superman confidently dives into the crime-ridden streets of Gotham City to play detective. Though this lighthearted episode of Superman: The Animated Series pokes fun at Batman's obvious mood swings, it carries some deeper messages around what it is truly like to be in Batman's shoes.
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_131_22Knight_Time22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 9:20am PDT

Writers Brenden Fletcher and Cecil Castellucci join us for an amazing in-depth look at a character with which they're both very familiar: Barbara Gordon, a.k.a. Batgirl. Brenden, along with Cameron Stewart and Babs Tarr, introduced us the world to the mega-popular "Batgirl of Burnside," taking over for Gail Simone. Cecil has only just begun her tenure as the new writer for DC's Batgirl, starting with issue #37 in July. Together, we break down this iconic hero of Gotham City in front of a full room at San Diego Comic-Con! 

We're taking an ever-so-brief break from Batman and the DC Universe to analyze the X-Men show that, many say, shares the title of the most influential animated series of the '90s. And we're not alone! Joining us for this amazing live panel is the husband-and-wife team of showrunner Eric Lewald and writer Julia Lewald.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_129_22WonderCon_2019_XMEN22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 6:00am PDT

Excited to examine Batman when he's out of his element, we eagerly turn to Superman: The Animated Series to see how Bats and Supes interact when they have similar goals but very different missions.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_128_22Worlds_Finest22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 2:47pm PDT

It's the end of an era. Now that we've seen all of Batman: The Animated Series, including The Adventures of Batman & Robin and The New Batman Adventures, we're answering the questions you've submitted and revisiting some of our favorite rogues, heroes and moments from the show. We'll also tell you where the podcast is going next!

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_127_22BTAS_Wrap_Up22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 4:52pm PDT

Dubbed by fans "The Lost Episode," the Adventures of Batman & Robin video game, released for the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis, was written by Paul Dini and directed by Bruce Timm and incorporated brand-new cut scenes that were fully animated sequences that put the story directly within the world we've been covering. Therefore, we just had to take a look and we're glad we did, as it gave us the opportunity to re-touch on a very important topic, especially for recent times: empathy.

Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_126_22The_Lost_Episode22.mp3
Category:Pop Culture Psychology -- posted at: 5:09pm PDT

Our Caped Crusader is ticked off to learn there is a new female vigilante in Gotham City. Her strong-arm tactics and masked identity make her a clear counterpart to Batman. In our discussion, we explore the concept of the "inner voice" based in self-determination theory. What does our internal self instruct us to do, and how are we motivated by ourselves? Finally, what is Batman's inner voice and how does he self-direct? Join us for the discussion!
Direct download: The_Arkham_Sessions_Episode_125_22Mystery_of_the_Batwoman22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 6:26pm PDT