Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Iceman

This X-Man can freeze anything—except for his emotions.

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By Tim Stevens Robert Drake, who prefers to be called Bobby, is an adult in good physical condition. He presents as easy going and jokey with a casual speech pattern that indicates a certain relaxation. However, at times, the client also displays signs of discomfort, doubt, and depression. It should also be noted that the client possesses acumen for numbers, a talent that he downplays and was other discovered by the writer by accident. Currently, Drake is adjusting to life in San Francisco, having followed several of the members of the mutants' rights group, the X-Men, there. Barring an unexpected revelation, the writer finds that Drake does not suffer from any Axis I or Axis II diagnoses. However, as noted above, he does struggle with low-level bouts of depression and ongoing feelings of disconnect from his teammates and the world around him.

While the client was able to admit that two previous incidents, one in which his powers became too much for him to control until he wore a belt made specifically to rein them in and another in which he was "trapped" in his ice form, may provide fuel for these feelings of isolation, it is the opinion of the writer that these began much earlier than those two events. Going further back into his past, it is notable that Drake initially rejected an offer to the join the X-Men until his parents persuaded him otherwise. While the client has since reconciled with his parents, it is highly likely that he felt abandoned by them. Adding to this difficulty was the fact that he was the youngest of his classmates. He was certainly able to relate to them in some ways, especially on the basis of their "gifts," but in other, more typical developmental ways, he lagged behind and was acutely aware of it. Recent incidents involving the terrorist Mystique have likely sharpened Drake's feelings of isolation. He began a relationship with her based on attraction in which he allowed himself to develop intimate feelings towards her. However, it quickly became apparent that she was deceiving the entire team. While the client has been able to acknowledge that she

deceived all his teammates, it is clear that he feels he was especially, as he described it, "asleep at the wheel." Besides the above noted disconnect, the client's depression seems to be born of a distinct cognitive dissonance that Drake has struggled with for some time. On the one hand, having been almost killed by his neighbors after first exhibiting his powers, the client feels compelled to understate himself, to not separate from the pack. His failure to mention his degree in accounting and downplaying his mathematical talents is an example of this. It could also be seen after what the press dubbed "M-Day" when Drake believed himself to be one of the mutants whose powers had been taken away. Instead, he was simply subconsciously suppressing them, his brain having seized on the event as the perfect opportunity to live "normally." On the other hand, he is compelled to explore his powers to the fullest and has been repeatedly disappointed in his inability to achieve heights, on his own, that he has been able to while under the influence of others; these polar opposite goals leave Drake forever struggling to find a psychologically comfortable path.

As such, the client's primary goal at this time is to identify what he truly wants from his life. To aid him in this, the staff is utilizing a combination of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT). It is hoped that the REBT, with its emphasis on the present, will allow the client to rectify irrational beliefs without forcing him to dwell in the past. By grounding Drake in the now, it frees him and the therapist from the burdens of the past and the possibility of retraumatization. What came before cannot be solved so REBT gives the client permission to stop dwelling on it and to move and solve the irrational beliefs in this moment, thus preventing problems in the future. While Drake is by no means a sufferer from Borderline Personality Disorder, DBT should aid him in reconciling his opposed goals by breaking him out of the black and white thinking ("I must be quiet and in the background to be safe" versus "I owe it to

myself to master my gifts and be as upfront as possible about them"). The skills taught in DBT will guide him to more dialectical thinking ("I get nervous showing my true talents and I would like to see how great I can be.") which should, in turn, allow him to achieve more and shake his depression. Bobby Drake will be in session with Doctors Mike Carey and Michael Ryan on October 1. Please look for details of the session in file X-MEN: MANIFEST DESTINY #2. Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has been intensively trained on Dialectical Behavior Therapy. For more on Iceman, visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.

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