By Tim Stevens
Katherine Pryde presents as an adolescent female in above average physical shape. She has been officially recognized by the United States government as a mutant and has not, according to witnesses and law enforcement records, complied with laws requiring her to abstain from the use of her abilities. Currently, however, she has indicated a desire to avoid her former life entirely, escaping with two individuals whom she declined to reveal to some sort of bunker. She is either unclear or concealing on what exactly her plan is beyond that she no longer wishes to “fight crime” or participate in any kind of costumed activities.
This writer and the client initially worked together when she transitioned from the Xavier Academy to public school. The appointments were set by her mother in order to help Pryde make as healthy and “normal” a move to the setting as possible. During these sessions, Pryde appeared intelligent and mature for her age. She also demonstrated a fairly quick temper and made it quite clear that she was struggling with a number of disappointments and traumas. Some of these were certainly “typical” for her age, including difficulties with friends, romantic partners, and authority figures. Others were highly unusual and born of her status as either a mutant or costumed vigilante. These include physical traumas and being discriminated against. The sessions were unexpectedly and abruptly stopped following an incident involving government agents at her school.
She sought out therapy, on her own this time, following the death of a fellow classmate named Peter Parker who recent events have revealed was the vigilante known as Spider-Man. The client had alternating romantic and friendly relationships with Parker and was clearly shaken by what had happened to him. She presented with strong indications of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder and what is known colloquially as “survivor’s guilt;” further exploration of these feelings revealed they did not begin with Parker’s death but probably had their genesis in the tidal wave that struck New York City several months earlier.
In addition to being tragic, these events were severing dis-regulating, cutting Pryde off from nearly all of her support systems. It is no wonder, in light of this that she might seek out a hiding place where she and the few people she seems to think that she can still count on can “avoid” pain.
This writer acknowledged and reinforced that it was a natural desire for the client to have, validating her experiences of pain and discrimination. However, it was also stressed in session that life cannot truly be avoided and that often, by hiding, that which is initially hard grows exponentially more difficult. To confront the painful parts of her life will be trying for the client but, in the long run, to not do so will be even further damaging.
At the conclusion of session it was unclear whether or not Pryde would return. While respectful of the writer, she did not hesitate to express doubts regarding the worldview expressed and remained evasive about the idea of at least pursuing some form of short term therapy. That said, this writer remains optimistic and has made sure the client has a spot reserved for her in the hopes that she will allow herself to re-engage the world.
Katherine Pryde’s next session, should she choose to attend, is scheduled for September 14 with Doctors Nick Spencer and Paco Medina. All information regarding this session can be located in the file marked ULTIMATE COMICS X-MEN #1.
Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens, MA is a Practicum Trainee at a community mental health facility and a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant.