Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Hellcat

Marvel's in-house therapist tackles his wildest case yet: Patsy Walker!

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By Tim Stevens Patricia Walker, formerly Patricia Hellstrom, is an athletic female who prefers, as she stressed several times, to be called Patsy. The client has had an established career as the vigilante Hellcat, but is perhaps best known as a model and star of two long running hit comic book series based on her adolescence and early adulthood. She presents largely as warm and confident, but quite scattered. Additionally, at times, she slips into what she refers to as a "dark place," a depressive episode that departs as quickly as it arrives. The client is quite open in discussing her life and the writer has no reason to believe Walker is holding back any information. However, this fountain of information has made the client very difficult to diagnose until her life story can be verified. Having worked with the super hero community for some time now, the writer has been exposed to several manners of incredible

PATSY WALKER:
HELLCAT #3
preview art by
David Lafuente

stories that the average therapist would not typically be faced with. Even by these standards, however, what Walker has discussed in session pushes the boundaries of believable. This is owed, mostly, to the fact that the client often uses metaphorical devices in literal, concrete ways. She describes her second husband, Daimon Hellstrom, as "the Son of Satan" and claims that it was "seeing his true face" that drove her to her successful suicide attempt. The suicide was facilitated by something called the "Deathurge," which she insists was an external entity. Similarly, in discussing what sounded to the writer to be a dissociative episode, Walker claimed to have been literally split into five different versions of herself. Additionally, the client describes what might be a placebo effect of sorts in reference to her first costume. She claimed at the time, and still partially believes, that somehow the costume boosted her abilities despite it having no such known properties. While these stories present a plethora of diagnostic possibilities, not the least of which is schizophrenia paranoid type and dissociative identity disorder, the lucidity of the client's testimony and her life as a costumed adventurer do give the writer

PATSY WALKER:
HELLCAT #3
preview art by
David Lafuente

hesitation. Therefore, at this time, the focus will be on convincing Walker to sign releases so the staff can speak to some of the people in her life to verify her life experiences. Following that, the writer will feel more comfortable making a formal treatment plan. What is clear is that a childhood in the public eye has taken its toll on the client. Having her life laid out for the world to see by her mother, even if it was not entirely based on reality, left her unsure of her place in her community. She did not trust relationships with her peers—and given two marriages ended quite badly, continues not to—and felt constantly exposed. She was, in essence, re-traumatized upon returning to her childhood home of Centerville to find a friendly rival from her youth had joined the corporation that controls the client's comic book image and turned their hometown into a tourist destination. The reality of her adolescence had been overrun by her fictional comic book adolescence. Walker is also prone to making poor choices when faced with difficult life events. The best example of this is her suicide, but it can be noted in several other instances during the client's life.

PATSY WALKER:
HELLCAT #3
preview art by
David Lafuente

All of this having been said, the client has tremendous resources to draw on. She is ambitious, kindhearted, and driven. She is an accomplished author who was strong enough to write about her difficult life and share it with the world, and did so with a sense of humor. Most importantly, the client has made the choice to seek out help and has contracted to not attempt suicide or commit acts of self-harm and instead will utilize the staff's on-call resources if such a desire arises. As mentioned above, the primary goal of therapy at this time is to confirm certain details of the client's life. Following that, a treatment plan will be created either centering on moving the client to accepting the reality of her life (if the details are unsubstantiated) or an extensive PTSD program utilizing one-on-one and group therapy (if the details are substantiated). Patsy Walker's next appointment is scheduled for September 10 with Doctors Kathryn Immonen and David LaFuente. Please review the details of that session in the file PATSY WALKER: HELLCAT #3. Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has experience in dealing with individuals with schizophrenia and PTSD. For more Hellcat, check out Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

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