Psych Ward

Psych Ward: The Shocker

This deadly foe of Spider-Man gets a check-up during his most recent prison stint

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By Tim Stevens

Herman Schultz is an adult male who presents as being of average to above average physical fitness. Currently incarcerated, the client has committed crimes for years under the name “The Shocker” and typically run afoul of the costumed vigilante Spider-Man.

Schultz self identifies as someone with extensive familiarity with the therapeutic process and admits that he has been in therapy for several years. As such, in session, he presents as cooperative and open to interpretation, but is also a strong advocate for himself and not afraid to indicate his personal boundaries with what he is willing to or ready to discuss at this time.

Schultz first sought therapy stemming from the so-called Scourge killings, a series of murders that targeted low-powered criminals and took the lives of several people the client considered friends or, at the least, colleagues. For a time, he considered himself to be a likely target and, even after it appeared the Scourge of the Underworld had ceased his activities, Schultz remained concerned. He now reports that the therapy was very helpful and the anxiety, which was almost crippling at its height, rarely bothers him these days. Additionally, he has developed a “coping box” which is full of techniques and physical items he can use to combat the beginnings of a panic attack on the increasingly rare instances they occur.

Prior to coming to prison, the focus of the client’s therapeutic work was arranged around confidence issues. It is an issue he would like to continue working on with this writer. This writer has expressed that he is happy to do so with the client, but that the focus will not be on how to be a more confident criminal but rather a more confident person with an eye towards Schultz eventually accepting he can be successful at life without needing to resort to theft, extortion, and the like. The client has agreed to this but asserts that he thinks it is unlikely the goal will be achieved.

It is important to note that the client is very intelligent. A quick review of the previous treatment record from other prison psychologists reveals a tendency to expect Schultz, given his limited formal education, to be little more than a criminal of limited intellect who happened upon a gadget. However, the client developed his “rig” himself and it is important for a therapist to recognize this and guide the client towards accepting how impressive that truly is.

Related to this and the question of gaining confidence outside of criminal acts, it is my understanding that Schultz has been offered a slot with the Thunderbolts rehabilitation program. This writer feels this is a tremendous error. While it may promote a sort of confidence, it continues to force the client to define himself only by his proficiency using his rig. If therapy is going to be successful in helping Schultz return to society as a contributing member, he needs to find his confidence through other less Shocker-related activities. This writer will present this opinion to the warden and Luke Cage as soon ass possible.

Shortly after the completion of this report, this writer was informed that Herman Schultz escaped incarceration. Evidently, however, he is continuing therapy with Doctors Andy Lanning, Dan Abnett, and Renato Arlem with appointments on January 4 and February 1. Due to doctor-patient confidentiality and the fact that Schultz does not fulfill the criteria for Tarasoff, neither they nor I can legally report this information to the authorities. Information on their sessions will be made available in files VILLAINS FOR HIRE #2 and #3.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens, MA is a Practicum Trainee at a community mental health facility and a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant who has worked criminals, reformed and otherwise, with trauma histories and a desire to move beyond their past illegal activities.

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