Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Professor X

Does the most powerful master of mutant minds have control over his own?

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By Tim Stevens Doctor Charles Xavier is a white male of average height and weight. It should also be noted at this time that the client is a mutant with powerful telepathic abilities. While Xavier has contracted not to utilize said powers within session to manipulate or obfuscate, it is important for any staff dealing with him to maintain self-awareness and question any behaviors they may engage in around the client that seem uncharacteristic of themselves. The client presents as well-mannered and well-educated. Xavier clearly enjoys discussing the complexity of psychology and sharing what he learned while pursuing his own degree in the field, but it never comes across as condescending or an attempt at one-upmanship with the writer. He is comfortable in conversation with the writer, but measured. Every response offered to a question is typically preceded by a long pause and is clearly well thought out. As such, it is often difficult to elicit spontaneous reactions from the client. In the opinion of the writer, this indicates a certain lack of trust in the therapeutic

relationship on behalf of Xavier. The writer has made this belief explicit in sessions and Xavier has confirmed some hesitance on his part to disclose too much. As such, at this time, the writer is considering all information gained to be of a superficial or incomplete nature and therefore will be followed up on as the therapeutic relationship grows. If, within the next several sessions, it becomes clear that such growth is not a possibility, the writer is prepared to recommend other therapists to Xavier that he might be better able to engage with. Still, given the previous sessions, the writer has made some connections and begun to build a preliminary outline of Xavier's personality. While it is unlikely that the client has any sort of Axis II diagnosis, he does display some characteristics of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder (a tendency towards absolutism, difficulty letting go of control for fear that others will make mistakes or ruin the individual's plans), narcissistic personality disorder (abuse or misuse of personal relationships), and antisocial personality disorder (deceitfulness). Again, it must be stressed that it is highly improbable that the client suffers from any of these disorders. Nonetheless, the presence of some of their symptoms is worth noting.

Similarly, it should not go unstated that the client has many positive personality traits that can be well-utilized in therapy to overcome his negative traits. In particular, Xavier possesses vast reservoirs of compassion for not only his fellow mutants, but also the whole of mankind. His dedication to his mission of peace between all peoples is very real, in the estimation of this writer. Additionally, the client is intelligent, slow to anger, and has a talent for being able to sees things from the point of view of others. The client's self is one of severe physical and psychological trauma. Xavier suffered through his father's death while he was still in childhood and was forced into a dysfunctional home life with an abusive stepfather and stepbrother. Simultaneously, Xavier's mutant gift began to manifest itself, giving him insight into his home that one would imagine would be difficult for someone of his age to fully process. In quick order, even his dysfunctional family was stripped away from him as his mother and stepfather died in rapid succession. While, given Xavier's age, it is unlikely this led to an attachment disorder in the truest sense of the word, this turmoil likely did undermine future relationships. In particular, this could explain the client's tendency towards manipulation, half-truths,

and lies. For one, it gives him control over his environment, something he must have rarely felt while growing up. For another, as he was privy to information at too young an age to truly process it, it is likely he views himself as being helpful to others. Because what he is doing is so complex, so complicated, he does not wish to expose others to the "behind the scenes" view lest they feel as overwhelmed and helpless as he did as a child when his psychic abilities began to manifest. Unfortunately, it is a coping skill that has outlived its usefulness for the client. Across every type of bond, a pattern is evident. Surrogate son Scott Summers has repeatedly clashed with the client to the point that Summers more or less wrested control of the Xavier Institute and the mutant rights organization known as the X-Men away from the client. Biological son David Haller has vacillated between bitterness and outrageous attempts to gain his father's love and attention, never signs of a healthy relationship. Similarly, romantic relationships, like those between the client and Moira MacTaggert, Gabrielle Haller, Amelia Voght, and alien Princess Lilandra, have fallen apart. While Xavier presents a myriad of excuses for these failings, more often than not, at some point they involve his need to control and his use of manipulation.

Given these details, the focus of therapy at this time is on the aforementioned building of the relationship between the writer and the client and the development of more effective interpersonal and coping skills. Through the use of cognitive behavior therapy, the sessions will be working towards reshaping the client's thought patterns in the hope that Xavier can begin to trust the environment around him to relinquish some control of it others and begin to trust others' abilities to cope enough that he can be open and honest with them about all matters. At this time, Doctor Charles Xavier's next appointment is scheduled for August 27. It is a family session of sorts with Scott Summers overseen by Doctors Mike Carey and Scot Eaton. Further information can be found under the file name X-MEN: LEGACY #215. Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has experience in dealing with individuals with personality disorders. Learn more about Professor X on Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

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