By Tim Stevens
Mark Raxton is an adult male of unusual body composition. Due to exposure to an extraterrestrial liquid metal while attempting an act of industrial espionage for his own profit, Raxton is gold in color and encased in a metal shell, most likely made of the same liquid metal. An additional consequence of the exposure is that Raxton is capable of giving off extreme heat, an ability that landed him the nickname of the Molten Man, an identity he has used as both a hero and a villain.
While calm, intelligent, and reasonable more often than not, at times Raxton is prone to emotional outbursts, particularly anger, during session. In looking at his life, it is clear that this tension between control and explosiveness is an ongoing area of struggle for the client. While he reports—and his file seems to support—that he has
become more in control of his emotions as he has grown older, it is the opinion of the writer that Raxton's temper still gets the better of him more often than is healthy or advantageous for him.
While it is unlikely, by this writer's estimation, that Raxton has a formal diagnosis of any kind, there are two areas that do require attention. The first of these is the aforementioned temper. The second is Raxton's ongoing guilt and shame over the mistakes he has made in his life. Having spent a sizeable amount of time on the wrong side of the law as Molten Man, he has clashed with Spider-Man, engaged in theft and property destruction, and endangered the lives of those he cares about, like his stepsister Liz Allan and his nephew, her son, Normie. During one particularly noteworthy time, he committed murder. That some of these acts have been committed under mind control or under coercive circumstances has done little to lessen the client's feelings of responsibility and inadequacy.
Due to wild, at times unmanageable, emotional explosions and his own obsession with past misdeeds, the writer has been counseling the client using Dialectical Behavior Therapy. This therapy has a large component designated to Emotion Regulation and Raxton has been learning and practicing the skills. Additionally, it is a therapy very much about the present tense which is teaching him that while those past mistakes did occur,
they are past and he owes to himself and those he loves to move beyond them and given himself a chance to be good in the now.
Currently, the client is doing quite well with personal goal #3 (perform DBT homework), always arriving to session with the skill assignment for that day completed. However, as we work on mastering the skills, he is still struggling with goals #1 and #2 (practice acceptable emotional responses and allow the past to be the past).
As a consequence of this, the writer is introducing phone consultation into the therapeutic relationship. This allows Raxton to access the writer or staff if his emotions are becoming unmanageable and he will be coached through using his emotion regulation skills. The client will also be working on building a Crisis Survival Kit filled with items and activities he can use in the moment to bring himself stability if he is unable, for whatever reason, to access on-call at that time.
While it seems unlikely, the writer has also made an appointment for Raxton with a physician to ensure that his exposure to the substance that made him the Molten Man has had no adverse effects on his brain. If organic defects are found, this therapeutic approach will need to altered and a more holistic, physiological method would most likely be adopted.
Mark Raxton will next visit the office on January 7 when he will meet with Doctors Dan Slott and Mike McKone. Please read up on it in file AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #582.
Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has been intensively trained in DBT.
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