By Marc Cuiriz
I want to preface this by saying that I am usually not one for typing out my thoughts, I usually do that in the form of podcasts. I will, however, do my best to explain my Geek Therapy origin story as best I can. So here it goes:
My run-in with Geek Therapy really happened by chance. I was a mere 20 years old and returning to community college after taking a couple years off to work and get my life in order after high school. This was when I decided to commit myself to psychology and I signed up for Abnormal Psychology because a friend of mine told me that the professor had a unique way of getting points and grades. This wonderful professor just so happened to be Dr. Patrick O’Connor and on his first day of class he told us about him and his work. This included talking about his comic encyclopedia and eventually speaking about the organization he was in called, you guessed it, Geek Therapy. This was when I was first introduced to the terms and concepts of using media in a therapeutic setting. I dove head first into the class and loved his “gamification” of grading and making it a level system. It kept the class fun and engaging for me all the way to the end. I will admit though, that I did not do much research or really look up Geek Therapy until after that semester was over. Sure I was interested but, I was so focused on school and maintaining grades that it usually slipped my mind. This changed when I was at work one day. I worked the early morning shift at the time so I was typically up and at work by 3am. During one shift, I got tired of my music and decided I wanted to try listening to podcasts instead. This is where I remembered O’Connor talking about how Geek Therapy had podcast shows and that he was in a couple of them. I searched GT Radio in my Apple Podcasts, scrolled all the way down to the very bottom and hit play. This was when my life changed forever.
Within the first 15 minutes of the episode and Josué was interviewing O’Connor, I fell in love with the show. I remember distinctly feeling goosebumps throughout my body, not because of a powerful message or because it was cold at work, but because I had finally found a group where I felt like I truly belonged. I’m a geek, I love video games, superhero movies, history, philosophy, and so much more and hearing Josué talking about the message of Geek Therapy and how we use the media we care about to better understand ourselves and each other just hit me in a way I never felt before. In just the first part of one episode of GTR I knew that this was an organization that I needed to be a part of. This led me onto a MASSIVE binge of every show in the network, and by every show, I mean EVERY show. This took me well over a year but by the time I got caught up on every show, I had listened to over 300 podcast episodes. I had learned so much and was introduced to so many new shows, games, hobbies, it was unreal just how much there was to talk about in virtually any interest. During that first year I remained merely a passive listener, I joined the discord server but never really interacted much except for a message here and there. To me, the imposter syndrome was real as a lot of people in the discord were people I heard in the podcasts and I admired them greatly. From Lara, Link, and Ali, to Josué himself, I couldn’t help but feel like I just wasn’t ready to be a part of everything… at first.
After about 6 months of just bingeing these shows while at work, I remember the second episode Josué and Lara did on Steven Universe. They were going over season 2 at that point and he would always mention that he wanted to start a Steven Universe podcast. This was when I saw that passive comment as a sign. I felt like I was being called to create this podcast show since I was DEEPLY obsessed with Steven Universe. I decided I wanted to shoot my shot and I asked for a Steven Universe channel to be made in the discord, once that was set up I asked the question “Hey I am thinking of starting a podcast about Steven Universe, anyone wanna join and help?”. I didn’t quite know what to expect when I sent it out, I never really did any serious podcasting before but I got a couple of replies from a couple people who I now consider some of my best friends, Gian and Kat. We messaged separately and at first we joked that we wanted to do this but as the messages continued we started to realize that we were serious about making this happen. We told Josué about our plan and that we were serious and I could feel the excitement through my computer. Together the three of us, with Josué’s help, established how our show was going to run and what exactly we were going to talk about. Since then we have covered numerous topics in just season one alone of the show. Grief, LGBTQIA+, non-nuclear families, are just some of those topics and during this time I was still going to school and still learning new concepts and ideas in psychology. As my knowledge grew and our show became more fine tuned, I wanted to venture into a new project. One that dealt more with my own all-time favorite series, Assassin’s Creed.
I came to Josué and asked if he wanted to be a part of this new project. I wanted to show that those of us in the mental health field are human too and… I just really wanted to geek out about the series and the many lessons it has taught me. With these two shows and my own personal life continuing to grow, my love and dedication to Geek Therapy has drastically increased. When I learned about Geek Therapy and everything it stood for, I wanted to help make sure that this message and organization grows and reaches a much wider audience. I dove right into the deep end with this organization and I have never looked back once. I found my passion in psychology and fully believe that the best way to understand one another IS through the media that we care about. This is my origin story, but my journey with Geek therapy has only just begun. For the rest of my life I will always: Geek Out, Do Good.