Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Magik

Therapist versus demon—who will prevail?

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By Tim Stevens Illyana Rasputin is a well developed adolescent female. She appears to be a full grown adult due to, according to her, trips to Limbo where time progresses faster than on Earth. The client came to session as a walk-in and immediately identified herself as a mutant demon sorceress who had no soul, who is sometimes called Magik by her "teammates." While the claim was rather outrageous, given the client's attire (red fur boots, spiked gauntlets on knees, elbows, and wrists, thigh high leather stockings, elbow high leather gloves, bra, underwear), appearance (yellow eyes, horns), and what she carried (an enormous stone axe), the decision was made to take her at face value for the purposes of this first session.

Though capable of discussing her life, at times, with detached calm (perhaps indicating some element of dissociation), Rasputin's most dominant emotion throughout the session was barely contained fury. She raged against those who had wronged her, be they enemies, former friends, or family. She spoke many times of abandoning love and getting back at everyone who had crossed her. The client's repeated variations of this theme were usually followed by the assertion that, in doing so, she would regain her soul. Frequent reminders that if the writer believes there is a real risk of a criminal act occurring, the writer must report it did little to redirect Rasputin. In putting aside the question of whether or not the client in fact has lost her soul and is a demon sorceress, the diagnosis seems acutely clear. She is wrestling with a case of unresolved PTSD that has been repeatedly aggravated. A few years prior, the client was kidnapped and exposed to, in her words, Limbo, for the first time. Here, a demon, Belasco, attempted to use her soul to gain ultimate power for himself. Through him, she learned black magic. Also while in this realm, she learned white magic from an

other-dimensional analogue of the mutant rights spokesperson, and current Queen of Wakanda, Storm, and swordplay from an other-dimensional analogue of Kitty Pryde, also a mutant rights spokesperson. She eventually returned to Earth, having been aged several years. At some later date, she was returned to her proper age. That regression, however, has apparently been undone, although it was unclear on when this might have occurred. Following this initial distress, Rasputin accidentally was tricked into bring Limbo to Earth during the crisis the press dubbed "Inferno." While she made no complaints at the time, it seems likely this event re-traumatized the client, further complicating her PTSD. Add to this her death from the Legacy Virus, subsequent resurrection at the hands of her kidnapper Belasco, and discovery of the destruction of the Xavier Institute where

she attended school prior to her death and it is clear that her PTSD has been aggravated far beyond her control. Additionally, her recent attempt to steal the soul of another mutant, a girl she calls Pixie, has left her questioning her very definition of herself. Her attempt of such an act has left her severely shaken. Attempts to explain that victims, especially young victims, often perpetrate the abuse they experienced on individuals that remind them of themselves when the young victims are allowed to mature without confronting those events seemed to be largely ignored. While it seems unlikely the client will return, as she promised that "bad things were coming" on more than one occasion, the writer is hoping that her comment, "I appreciate this…I will see that you are spared," might leave open the possibility of developing a further therapeutic relationship. With this in mind, the writer is creating a treatment plan. First, given her deep connection to her brother Piotr (see: Colossus file) and his own difficulties with PTSD, it will be recommended to the client that she engage in family therapy with him as a means of rediscovering their bond and reconnecting

her to familial love. Next, the use of group therapy has been shown to be very effective, so it will be recommended that Rasputin attend a weekly group therapy meeting with adult and adolescent survivors of abuse and crime. Finally, extensive, eclectic talk therapy is necessary. It will utilize elements of Dialectical Behavior Therapy (for emotion regulation), Interpersonal Psychology (to reconcile her images of herself), and Cognitive Behavior Therapy (to diffuse faulty thought patterns like, "Destruction is the only way to achieve my goals"). It is also recommended that Rasputin undergo a whole psychological evaluation to evaluate just how much of her life story is accurate and not born of delusion. Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has experience in dealing with individuals with PTSD, but knows very little about soullessness. For further information on Illyana Rasputin, please review the file X-MEN: INFERNUS #1, prepared by Doctors C.B. Cebulski and Giuseppe Camuncoli and available on December 3. Also, visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited for more Magik! Check out the official Marvel Shop for everything X-Men!
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