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.

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST

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 PST