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Psych Ward

Psych Ward: J. Jonah Jameson

Still reeling from the death of his wife, the mayor of New York City ends up on the couch

By Tim Stevens

Mayor J. Jonah Jameson presents as an adult middle-aged male. A review of recent medical records indicates that the client experienced two heart attacks in rapid succession not long ago, but has taken several steps to address the condition that appeared to have worked. The one change he has not maintained is that he has returned to a stressful workplace. The client, prior to his first cardiac event, ran the Daily Bugle newspaper, overseeing both the editorial and financial aspects. Now, of course, he is the mayor of—arguably—the most attention getting city in the world. Therefore, this writer has recommended that the Mayor receive a battery of tests to assess his current stress level and any physiological consequences of that stress level.

The client reports that the death of his wife Marla is what brought him into therapy. He claims to not put much stock in the process but that after sleeplessness and difficulties focusing at times, decided it was at least worth a shot. He insists that he is not doing it for himself but rather because the city needs a mayor who is fully engaged.

In session, Jameson often resorts to angry bloviating to distract or avoid topics that he feels uncomfortable with. A favorite topic of these rants is, unsurprisingly, given the Daily Bugle’s oft-published editorials, Spider-Man and the danger he represents. This was particularly the case following last session when the client relayed that there had been several reports of people “coming down” with similar powers to the vigilante, proof of a plot, according to the Mayor, to undermine his administration and “recruit” other people to his way of life.

At times, however, these diatribes have led to substantive dialogue in session and therefore this writer does feel that it may be useful to allow the client to indulge in this habit, at least in the short term. Most recently, it resulted in the Mayor disclosing that he had attempted to have a so-called “super villain” named Massacre killed during a hostage situation. Spider-Man captured Massacre and saved the hostages but thwarted Jameson’s command in the process. While the client insisted that his choice was legal and sound, he confessed that he believed it was, in part, motivated by his grief. He also wondered aloud how Spider-Man, menace though he may be, could resist the temptation to use his power to end the lives of criminals like Massacre or Alistair Smythe. The client refused to grant the premise that maybe this was evidence of Spider-Man being a quality person.

Overall, the Mayor’s stated concern regarding grief appears to be a healthy processing of the guilt, rage, and sadness he feels in the wake of his wife’s violent death. There may be moments, as the case was with Massacre, wherein his emotions excessively influence his decision making. His ability to see that now and to make his staff aware should limit such problems in the future.

However, the Mayor’s long running obsession with Spider-Man does seem to be unhealthy. It exists with nearly no evidence to substantiate it and clouds his perspective across a multitude of issues, large and small. The client has rejected this writer’s observations on this matter and has no interest in exploring it further.

Mayor J. Jonah Jameson has follow-up sessions scheduled for August 31and September 14 with Doctors Dan Slott and Humberto Ramos. Information on the sessions will be available in the files marked AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #668 and #669.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens, MA is a Practicum Trainee at a Federal Correctional Institute and a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant.

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