Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Star-Lord

Even in space, Marvel.com’s therapist can hear this Guardian of the Galaxy grieve

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By Tim Stevens

It should be noted that all sessions with the client are done via video conference as he is currently in outer space and unable to make the trip to Earth on a weekly basis.

Peter Quill is an adult male who presents as in above average physical shape. The client is an active member of a cosmic team of adventurers known as the Guardians of the Galaxy. In this role, he goes by the name Star-Lord. It has been hypothesized that fulfilling this role has altered Quill physiologically, but the client has heretofore refused a physical exam, so this can only be speculation. Presentation-wise, he appears to be in good health with no obvious injuries, deformations, or mutations of his physical self.

In session, the client presents as emotionally restricted and/or blunted and his speech is low and goal-oriented. He rarely expresses positive or negative affect and leans towards intellectualized expressions of his emotions. Without prompting, it appears that Quill would fill up entire

 
sessions just talking about his work and not addressing his past or current psychological state.

However, when asked, the client has been fairly forthright. He admits to a deep love of space that has been with him "as long as [he] can remember" and that he does continue to take pride in how he has managed to make that dream a reality. He also admits that he came close to derailing it several times due to an explosive temper and arrogance that made his interpersonal skills nearly nonexistent during his teen and young adult years. He reports that he has improved greatly in this area over the years and is now happy with the manner in which he interacts with others.

Beyond this, however, Quill does not see much positive about himself. He is consumed with grief, self-doubt, and guilt following the loss of several team members in a recent conflict. While he pays lip service to understanding that he alone cannot be held responsible for what happened to them and that he did not, in fact, kill them, there is little in his demeanor that seems to indicate he actually believes this. His speech is littered with statements of responsibility and regret, and he often will indulge in complicated explorations of what he could have done differently. He also made several references to an earlier conflict with the Phalanx that he also harbors responsibility for.

Because of this tragedy, he reports, he is more dedicated that ever to being a strong leader and appears to have thrown himself into the role with increased zeal. However, it is the opinion of this writer that that is merely a distraction and a highly dangerous one at that. If the client

 
refuses to confront his own guilt and grief in a constructive manner, he is risking not only his life but the lives of the rest of his team. At this time, the client denies the validity of this assessment.

Regardless, it remains the primary goal of this therapy to help Quill to express his emotions in a healthy and helpful manner and to accept what is and is not within his control. If progress is not made on this front, it is the opinion of this writer that the client may rapidly begin to display signs of Acute Stress Disorder or, more long-term, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.

Peter Quill's next appointment is set for December 23 with Doctors Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning and Brad Walker. For further information on this client, please consult file GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY #21

Tim Stevens is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Doctoral Intern at a college counseling center currently pursuing his Psy D. who has experience working with individuals who cannot express their emotions in healthy, prosocial ways and those living with PTSD.

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