Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)

Degree Granting Department

Leadership, Counseling, Adult, Career, and Higher Education

Major Professor

Herbert Exum, Ph.D.

Co-Major Professor

Barbara Shircliffe, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Arthur Bochner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jennifer Wolgemuth, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Carlos Zalaquett, Ph.D.


Arts-Based, Edutainment, Narrative, Ontology, Prevention, Self


This is a study about how I produced a graphic novel to introduce a model of the self that is informed by complexity theory to an audience of comic book and graphic novel enthusiasts. Because this model of the self has the potential to preserve, extend, and/or reinforce character strengths that are operationalized as virtuous behavior, and that also function as inner resources in times of adversity, my study explores storytelling by sequential art as a communication method that some counselors and educators might use to counsel and educate large segments of popular culture. Also, more generally, I explore the possibility that productions combining entertainment and preventive information might have commercial value on their own and also improve wellbeing and increase embodied social capital without the need of traditional institutional funding.

Under the theoretical frameworks of Complexity Theory and Poetic Logic, I combined Active Imagination, Narrative, Writing, Poetic, and Arts-based methods of inquiry, to research the literary and artistic forms by which I could create a compelling mythopoeic story to indirectly educate about the potential of the self. The results of this investigation show that the production of an instrument aiming at these goals can be completed, however, future studies are needed to assess the effectiveness of this production as a prevention tool and as a commercially viable product in the entertainment marketplace. While the results of this investigation are not generalizable, they may inspire other counselors and educators to communicate with larger audiences their expert knowledge of human nature as a form of preventive public counseling.

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