By Lara Taylor Kester
My Geek Therapy origin starts out 2 years after the beginning, but that’s basically still a decade, right? In July of 2013 my (now) wife pushed my introverted self to go to a panel at San Diego Comic Con, and the trajectory of my career and life shifted. Nothing that’s happened since is something I would’ve predicted.
Listening to these professionals and students on the SDCC panel talk about using geek culture in their practices blew my mind. And yet, it also didn’t. At the time, I’d been in grad school for a year in a Master’s counseling psychology program, learning the typical first year grad school stuff. I hadn’t seen a client in a therapist sense yet, but I could relate what they were doing to many of the things I’d done with kids working at the group home. Movie nights. Baseball games. Game nights. Something clicked, and honestly I was upset that more people weren’t doing this kind of thing!
Finding my people
At first I thought it would be hard to find others who thought like this. I brought the ideas back to my graduate program, and a few of my classmates responded and wanted to know more. My professors might not have been interested themselves, but they seemed excited that I was passionate about Geek Therapy.
When I met Josué, I knew I’d found a person I could connect with and who understood me. He’s one of my best friends. What I couldn’t have foreseen was the community we would build with Geek Therapy. At the time I’m writing this our Discord server is at 500 members, and our Facebook Group is just shy of 5,000 members. 5,000 people like me who want to geek out over the latest episode of Loki or The Bad Batch, and also get the struggles of billing Medicaid or insurance companies. These people might not all be my best friends… but they could be.
Each time I step into the Geek Therapy community’s spaces, I feel like I’ve come home. Like I can just be me. Like I’ve found my people.
Helping clients find their people
Eight years later I’m an outpatient therapist at a busy clinic. I live and breathe Geek Therapy in how I present myself in my company bio, greet clients, and conduct my intakes. What I want more than anything for my clients is for them to find their people too. I hope I’m their people. I hope they find people other than their therapist that gets them.
I’ve had clients come to me because they saw my Star Wars shirt in my staff photo, or because they saw my Zelda backpack when they saw me in the hall. They’ve told me they’re embarrassed to talk to their other providers about cosplay, or online RPGs, or they don’t want to have to explain what Twitch or Discord are. They have a short hand with me that leaves more time in the room for therapy work. Recently I had someone reach out on LinkedIn because they wanted someone they knew to meet with me because I understood comics and they just had to make sure I wasn’t taking on new clients at the time.
These are powerful connections that can be healing and shouldn’t be dismissed because they’re different or niche.
So if you’re a person looking for a therapist: you deserve to meet with someone who’s your people. Or at least someone who’s excited that you know who your people are. Someone who will geek out with you (whether or not it’s their fandom). Someone who will understand the impact your favorite things have had on your life. Someone who’s culturally competent.
And if you’re a therapist: find your people. Whatever that means. Whether they’re geeks, whether they work with the populations you do, whether they practice the same modality you do (extra bonus if they’re all three!), find your people.
Having this community as a resource has made me a better, happier therapist. And I’d like to think it’s made some of my clients better, happier people.
The last 10 years have been a wild ride. I’ve grown up from a little grad student to a full-blown Geek Therapist. I hope everyone finds a community like this.
Geek out and do good.