Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Norman Osborn

A real life psychologist takes a trip inside the twisted mind of the Thunderbolts' leader. Plus: preview art by Mike Deodato!

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THUNDERBOLTS
#120 cover by
Marko Djurdjevic

By Tim Stevens Case File #2390: Norman Osborn Norman Osborn is a physically fit adult male of unspecified age. He presents as both confident and component. His speech patterns belie a strong educational background and privileged life. While typically composed to the point of condescension, the client does often react with sudden bursts of rage or inappropriate maniacal laughter. This is especially the case when the subjects of Spider-Man, his son Harry, the loss of control of his company, Osborn Industries, to his daughter-in-law and her brother, or his being exposed as the Green Goblin by the New York paper "The Daily Bugle" are raised. Currently, Osborn is serving as director of the government-sanctioned group called the Thunderbolts and is on a steady medication routine to control a list of symptoms including, but not limited to, the aforementioned bouts of uncontrollable anger and hysterics, his obsession with the vigilante Spider-Man, and visual and auditory hallucinations.

THUNDERBOLTS
#120 preview art
by Mike Deodato

While he has no formal diagnoses listed on his chart, he likely has both an Axis I and Axis II disorder. The Axis II is almost certainly antisocial personality disorder. This would explain his business practices, his decision to become the Green Goblin, and the disdain with which he seems to view most people. However, the larger psychological issue that he is must contend with is the Axis I disorder of schizophrenia. It seems probable that his schizophrenia is actually reactive, brought on by the chemicals he exposed himself to in order to assume the role of the Green Goblin, as well as the tragedy of his wife Emily's untimely demise. The disorder being reactive type would explain the relatively late onset of it, as well as the auditory and visual hallucinations. Because of the uniqueness of his history and the gaps in his file, it is also possible that Osborn suffers from bipolar disorder. The client can be combative during sessions, but this reserve is usually trumped by his own self involvement. Put simply, he likes to talk about himself too much not to disclose personal history. Unfortunately, his recollections are a bit problematic. For instance, Osborn is quite open about having faked his death several years ago. However, he can only say he spent the years everyone thought he was

THUNDERBOLTS
#120 preview art
by Mike Deodato

dead "out of country." Similarly, while he can acknowledge exposing himself to an experimental serum that gave him abilities beyond typical humans, he often blames his mental illness on what he describes as a "ritual" that ended with him receiving madness as his "gift". This particular story has been unsubstantiated and nothing to date has made this writer believe it is the base cause of any of Osborn's difficulties. Currently, the client is having difficulty meeting personal goals #2 (maintain mental stability) and #3 (do not retreat to into an alter ego). While no one else on premises at Thunderbolt Mountain has substantiated it, Osborn claims to have discovered a Goblin mask his desk which he reports then "spoke" to him. Later, he admits to having worn the mask in the bathroom and that it "made me feel much better." Osborn says his secretary almost caught him when she came in to alert him to a burgeoning crisis at the headquarters revolving around a brewing mutiny, but that she does not suspect anything. Osborn was resistant to staff's attempts to acquire the mask for either destruction or "safe keeping" claiming that he had no intentions of becoming the Green Goblin again but that it made him feel good to have it around. The client also refused to

THUNDERBOLTS
#120 preview art
by Mike Deodato

show the mask to staff as he was worried "you'll just take it away from me the moment you see it." Staff was, however, able to get the client to contract to resist indulging in the Green Goblin role in any way before his next session. Staff also reminded Osborn to utilize his coping skills, including mindfulness exercises and dunking his hands in ice cold water for a minute when he began to feel overwhelmed. He was also encouraged to utilize the hotline where staff would be happy to walk him through a few other exercises to regain control of himself. Going forward, staff recommends that Osborn's psychiatrist review the client's medication regime and, if appropriate, increase his dosage of Clozapine. Osborn should also be reevaluated for bipolar disorder as his medications at this time do not address that possibility. Additionally, staff is recommending more frequent visits for Osborn, at least until this particular crisis passes, and more frequent checks by onsite staff. Given Karla Sofen (the Thunderbolt known as Moonstone ) is a former therapist herself, she might be a good onsite resource to tap to aid staff in monitoring the client. Before this can be done, however, Osborn must sign a release to allow staff to disclose certain information

THUNDERBOLTS
#120 preview art
by Mike Deodato

to Sofen. Perhaps Anthony Stark can be contacted to facilitate this? Norman Osborn's next appointment will be a dual session. The first session, performed by Doctors Warren Ellis and Mike Deodato, will be found filed under THUNDERBOLTS #120. The second will be a group session with Mac Gargan (Venom) and be overseen by Doctors Christos Gage and Ben Oliver. This report will be summarized in THUNDERBOLTS: REASON IN MADNESS. Both reports will be available for review on May 7, 2008. Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has experience in dealing with individuals with schizophrenia and personality disorders. For more THUNDERBOLTS, visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.
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