Incredible Hulk DVD

Psych Ward: The Hulk

Marvel.com’s resident therapist plays Doc Samson for a day and tries to get inside the psyche of the Green Goliath

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By Tim Stevens From the outset, it should be noted that the majority of this report is based on naturalistic observation of the behemoth creature known as the Hulk. As such, any opinions or diagnoses presented should be taken with some skepticism as for most of the creature's existence, personal interviews and/or sessions were not a possibility or were rejected by it. The Hulk is a humanoid of immense size. His skin tone has fluctuated, over the years, between green and grey. Reports of a red hued Hulk are being ignored for the sake of this report as a colleague, Dr. Leonard Sampson, reports that the green/grey Hulk and the red Hulk are not one and the same. The writer defers to Dr. Sampson in this area as he is considered to be the leading expert on the Hulk, with the exception of Dr. Bruce Banner.

In addition to his varying skin color, the client has also exhibited a wide range of dress and personal hygiene. In early sessions, it favored little by way of grooming and was most often dressed in a seemingly endless supply of purple pants. Upon resuming the grey skin tone it initially possessed, the Hulk began to favor finer clothes, such as tailored suits. Eventually, the Hulk once more returned to green. This time, however, he seemed to be more aware of himself and, while not embracing the fashion forward stylings of his grey side, he was significantly more likely to wear appropriate amounts of clothing in the proper size. There were noted fluctuations with this until the Hulk disappeared for several weeks. Upon the client's return, during the invasion of New York that has been dubbed "World War Hulk," it favored armor and tribal style dressings. While these changes in hygiene and attire would, perhaps, not normally rank this in-depth a summary, they are worth noting in the case of the Hulk. This is due to the fact that these changes often indicated changes in the creature's personality and behavior as well. Its initial period, which was dominated by the green-skinned, unhygienic appearance, is the one that is must often associated with the client. During this time, it could be remarkably

child-like and full of wonder, before, inevitably, swinging into uncontrollable dangerous rages that threatened everything in the creature's path. The main objective of "this" Hulk seemed to be to escape and be left alone. The client's longest time as grey marked a significant departure. Gone were the childishness and the uncontrollable rage. In their place, many reports indicate cunning and ruthlessness were the creature's dominant personality traits. This particular incarnation referred to itself as "Mr. Fixit" and worked as an enforcer for the mob. Following this, the green shade returned, but the historical trappings of it did not. Now, it exhibited all the traits of previous incarnations, plus those of Dr. Bruce Banner, the creature's alter ego. Dr. Sampson nicknamed this version "Professor" and initially reported that it represented the merging of three disparate parts. Later, however, he admitted that it was, in fact, a fourth part that he introduced, via hypnosis, into the creature's consciousness and subconscious. This is the personality that has been most often observed in recent times.

Knowing that, throughout this process, the creature was always the same creature, leaves the writer confident in diagnosing with the Axis I malady Dissociative Identity Disorder. The variety of personality traits that the Hulk exhibited over the years cannot be written off as simply a maturation process. They were, simply put, too drastically different from one another. Additionally, previous manifestations would, from time to time, reappear. This was most notably the case with the early or "Savage" Hulk. Any study of the Hulk over a prolonged period of time reveals several noted regressions to the behaviors and mentalities associated with that personality. The Savage Hulk personality also exhibits the black and white thinking and difficulties with emotion regulation that are common with sufferers from the Axis II illness Borderline Personality Disorder. However, it is not recommended that, any point, staff attempt to use Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), the typically recommended approach for those with BPD, to treat the creature in this state. This personality seems to be

operating at the intellectual level of no more than a 3-year-old child. Therefore, in much the same way that severally developmentally disabled individuals are unable to grasp the concepts of DBT, the Hulk will not be able to process the information. Given this personality's volatility, it seems likely that this would cause confusion and frustration, leading ultimately to an enraged outburst. The only treatment plan the writer can recommend at this time, if ever the creature is brought into custody, is the one that Dr. Sampson has had so much success with previously: a mix of hypnosis and psychotherapy. The opinion of this writer is that it is now impossible to put the proverbial genie back into the bottle and thus, the best case for "cure" is build up the Professor personality until the Hulk has enough confidence in its ability to provide all the Hulk needs, be it protection or intellect, and can let go of the other personalities. Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D. who has experience dealing with those with developmental disabilities.
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