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Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Kid Gladiator

The Jean Grey School sends one of their more aggressive students in for anger management.

By Tim Stevens

It should be noted from the outset that this writer was brought on to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning campus by Headmistress Katherine Pryde as a consultant for this case. The client in question signed the necessary documentation to allow this writer to offer general weekly updates on the therapeutic relationship and more specific session information as this writer deems necessary and appropriate. As Kubark is considered a minor in the eyes of his culture, his bodyguard and current guardian co-signed all documents as well.

Kubark is a member of the alien race known as the Shi’ar and appears to in a period of life roughly equivalent to that of a human teenager. He presents as being in above average physical shape and is quick to assure this write that, in fact, he is “so spectacularly fit, I would not expect a human like you to have experienced anything close to this level of awesome capability.”

Client requested at the outset that he be referred to as “Kid Gladiator” as he is apparently known at the school and this writer has done so, seeing no reason not to honor such a request, although for the purposes of formal notation, he will continue to noted as Kubark in all documentation.

Unfortunately, beyond that moment, sessions thus far have proven largely ineffective. For one thing, the client’s bodyguard, Warbird, has proven reluctant, repeatedly, to leave her charge unsupervised during sessions. Although she has since acquiesced, she continues to insist on a thorough search of myself and the room we use for therapy at the start of each session for any sort of hidden weapon I might attempt to do harm to Kubark with. These searches take nearly 20 minutes worth of session and requests to arrive earlier have been rejected as she refuses to leave his side and he has class up until just before our scheduled meeting times. Headmistress Pryde has given assurances that she will try to find a solution to this issue soon but there has yet to be any such plan offered.

Kubark himself is equally therapy interfering, if not more so. He has repeatedly attempted to bait this writer into a “battle to the death to prove who is most awesome” and once refused to speak at all until I agreed to his terms. Only my assurance that ours would be a battle on the psychic landscape has brought this situation to resolution as, although he feels there is nothing he cannot solve by punching, his father would be pleased to hear he is developing psychic powers. This writer has tried to explain that is not exactly what therapy is about but it seems the client has made up his mind on the matter.

In session, he is also often braggadocio, seemingly either overstimulated or anxious, and unwilling to consider there are consequences to his only tool for any kind of interpersonal or stress resolution being physical violence. Part of the problem stems from a sort of interplanetary prejudice as seen via Kubark’s wildly fluctuating opinion of Earth: sometimes he has ebullient praise for, as when he got to spend some time as a Brood or when the school was attacked by the Hellfire Club, and others has only disgust and disappointment. Depending on this opinion of Earth, he becomes more or less likely to engage the writer.

However, even engaged, he is strongly resistant to the idea that his lack of problem solving skills has ever caused trouble. The writer’s attempts to link his violent aggressive acts, such as his destruction of a Shi’ar city, to those things he likes least about his life, like being forced to live on Earth. Even while admitting that his father specifically told Kubark that his exile was due to his actions, the client maintained that he did not feel changing his violent manner would at all be beneficial to him.

Given the resistance to that approach, the writer is now shifting to two different approaches. The first is to find a healthy outlet for Kubark’s aggression; activities where his presentation would be considered an asset like sports. So far, however, the client will only endorse boxing and mixed martial arts as sports he would consider, neither of which are offered at his school. He did initially indicate he would also be fine with fencing but changed his mind upon discovering the swords were not sharp and not designed to hurt others.

Second is introducing coping skills first without emphasizing they are replacing his current aggressive approach. This has been somewhat more successful although he continues to view any progress he makes through the prism of it making him more effective at “punching others in the face.”

Kubark’s next session is with Doctors Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo on June 27. Please see the file WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN #12 for their complete notes.

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

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