By Tim Stevens
Much as in the case of his wife, Bobbi Morse, Clint Barton was referred to the writer for a second opinion after seeing Doctor Jim McCann. Clint Barton is perhaps better known as the Avenger archer Hawkeye, the size-changing Goliath, or, most recently, the rogue hero known as Ronin. Although not gone for nearly as long as his spouse, the client was also seemingly killed only to show up alive in a world that was very different from the one he left. Since his return, things have continued to pile on him, including an encounter with the woman who ostensibly killed him, the death of his mentor and friend Captain America, the return of his wife and the subsequent difficulties that has sparked, and the usurping of his identity by someone he insists is a dangerous criminal. With his having recently having gone public with his identity in an attempt to discredit the team of Avengers that Norman Osborn recently
introduced, former Avengers butler Jarvis insisted that the client take the time to visit the same doctors Bobbi Morse did.
Once more, Dr. McCann met with the client prior to his session with this writer and his reported is excerpted below:
"Clint Barton has often suffered a crisis of self-identity and esteem issues. Certainly growing up in a carnival with a morally questionable father figure in the man called the Swordsman and being initially regarded as a criminal added to those feelings. He has often sought refuge in multiple identities and power augmentation or an excess of gadgetry to compensate for his perceived lack of power. What he needs to realize, however, is that his natural gifts are greater than most of his peers. He is a natural born leader, despite his need to rebel against authority. When focused, his decisions are usually as on target as his aim with most weapons.
"However, when shaken, he can spiral back into feelings of self-doubt and a slight dissociation from his own identity. His recent return from what appeared to be death and subsequent loss of his surrogate father figure Steve Rogers—aka Captain America—left him seeking solace in the appropriately named Ronin identity, looking for his place once more in this new world. That he has chosen a more close-range fighting style in my assessment indicates
the need to more aggressively attack and displace his own personal demons by getting more physical with his opponents.
"The return of his presumed deceased wife, Bobbi Morse—aka Mockingbird—has also left him feeling like his life is being turned upside down once more. While this appears to be the answer to his deepest wishes and dreams, the two have a deeply complex relationship, and questions of trust have resurfaced. He is desperately attempting to get to the root cause of her problems, perhaps in an attempt to avoid dealing with the issues that plagued them as a couple as well as those that kept him at odds with her for much of their relationship. That said, at their core, there is an undeniable attraction and love for one another, but they both have a long road ahead of them personally before they can see where the future would lead. Most importantly, Clint Barton needs to once again discover who he truly is."
Much of what the writer observed in session reflects Dr. McCann's conclusions.
This was particularly the case with Barton's confidence. For a man well known for his sarcastic wit, he seemed very subdued in session. He was still capable of and indulged in a joke every now and again, but
it was clear that he was "off his game." Having been shaken in his belief of himself, he is not trusting his natural instincts and instead is embracing the seriousness of someone else, I suspect Captain America, who he believes to be "more effective" in a crisis than he is.
It is evident that Barton is a bit confused by recent events, especially his wife's return and her distance from him since then. This paired with his frustration towards the current state of super hero relations, especially in reference to Norman Osborn giving the Hawkeye mantel away to somebody the client refers to as "a lunatic murderer," can lead to quick flashes of anger. Whether he is prone to impetuous action, as the revealing of his identity on television might indicate, is unclear.
The writer believes that ongoing therapy would be helpful for the client, especially in regards to restoring his confidence in himself. He does appear to be processing his emotions in a healthy manner, but some therapeutic support would be useful to him.
THE REUNION #2
cover by Jo Chen
However, what is absolutely necessary is marriage counseling. The difficulties Barton is having in understanding his wife and her inability to vocalize her needs and the reason for those needs is sure to only further weaken their already tenuous relationship. Even if it is too late to save the marriage, which I do not believe is the case, couples therapy will be an invaluable tool in helping both parties process their emotions and be able to go forward in a healthy manner.
Clint Barton already has his next appointment scheduled on April 1 with Doctors Jim McCann and David Lopez. The details of their session can be read in the file marked NEW AVENGERS: THE REUNION #2 on April 1.
Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has experience in working with individuals dealing with emotional challenges.
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