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Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Sif

How does one cope with being possessed by the God of Mischief?

By Tim Stevens

Sif presents as an adult female of above average height and physical fitness. Her clothing was unusual for the time and place, but the writer has been led to believe that it was culturally appropriate given Sif's background.

The client's cultural background, in this case, is Asgardian. That is to say, she self identifies as being a member of the group of beings who are part of the Norse pantheon of gods, like the former Avenger known as Thor. As with other clients who have identified themselves as beings gods, demigods, demons, deities, or immortals, the writer is taking this statement, initially, at face value. However, given the religiosity that is often present in schizophrenia-related delusions, it is important to be aware and watching for other symptoms of that disorder.

The client made the decision to come after being urged by a friend she called "Hercules," who claimed to have had success with therapy in the past. Her motivation for seeking therapy stems from recent events that involved her confronting mortality. Her description of what occurred is difficult to imagine, but given other events that this writer has been witness to and heard of, it cannot be ruled out on the face of it.

In essence, Sif was drawn into a cycle called "Ragnarok" that involves the destruction and rebirth of the Asgardians. However, unlike the rest of her people, she was shunted into the body of a human being, specifically a woman dying of cancer. Meanwhile, the God of Mischief Loki occupied the body that was to be hers. Eventually, the ruse was discovered and Sif found a proper "home" for her soul.

However, she has not been wholly able to move beyond what happened. Two brushes with death in a very short time can be disorienting for anyone, but for someone who is nigh immortal it has proven particularly hard to come to terms with. Additionally, upon leaving her initial host's body, Sif witnessed the woman, Mrs. Chambers, succumbing to the cancer, an experience that has left her feeling shaken and very guilty for her apparent role. She describes herself as being able to intellectually get that the woman's death is not her fault, but, emotionally cannot quite come to grips. Also, she feels as though she "robbed" Mrs. Chambers of her last

weeks on Earth by occupying her body and therefore denied the woman a chance to go on her terms and close out her life in a way that she would have wanted to.

Given her state of mind, it seems clear that Sif is demonstrating signs of Acute Stress Disorder. The writer is planning to work with the client using Existential Therapy to help her confront and accept the possibility of someday experiencing permanent death. Additionally, the writer will be engaging the client using CBT to help her identify the negative automatic thoughts that are leading her to feel guilty and anxious and adopt new, more healthy cognitions.

Sif's next appointment is set for April 21 with Doctors Kelly Sue DeConnick and Ryan Stegman. Please review the file marked SIF #1 for further details.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Practicum Trainee at a college counseling center who has experience working with individuals with Acute Stress Disorder.


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