Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Hobgoblin

The newest, wildest Hobgoblin continues to fool everyone, even his therapist!

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By Tim Stevens

Philip Urich is a young adult male who presents as in average physical shape. He works as an employee of a local multimedia news publisher where he has close ties to several fellow employees including his uncle Ben Urich, the editor-in-chief, and intimate partner Norah Winters who the client describes as “basically the star reporter.” The client is also a former Green Goblin, the so-called “good one” who acted as a costumed vigilante in his teens.

Following the destruction of his costume, Urich seemed to lose his powers and moved out of New York City to the West Coast. While there he help found a support group for former teen costumed adventurers. The client has been vague about the fate of the group, only indicating that it was helpful for a time but eventually dissolved. However, he does claim that it inspired him to go to therapy upon his return to New York.

The client has, typically, arrived promptly for session with good hygiene, proper attire, and a committed attitude to making the therapeutic process work. Recently, however, this writer has noticed a significant change in even these most basic areas of presentation. Urich has often arrived smelling of soot or fuel fumes, in severely rumpled clothes, with odd cuts or bruises that he cannot explain, unshaven, with wild hair, and so on.

However, these changes are small in comparison to the drastic shift in personality I have observed. He is now often snide and sarcastic, making cutting, arrogant remarks about everyone around him and then attempting to play them off as jokes. He seems almost manic, prone to fits of giggling and mumbling to himself. Additionally, he once “confessed” to being Hobgoblin, only to retract the statement almost immediately, saying “Nah, I’m just messing with you. But how crazy would it be if I were?”

The client has insisted he has no interest in a psychiatric evaluation and will not take medication. He agreed to a random drug test but the results showed no illicit substances and he denies any misuse of prescription drugs. Urich will only say that he really loves his life right now and that’s the cause of the changes. He is also suspicious, seemingly, of my concerns and has, on multiple occasions, accused this writer of trying to keep him “weak, lonely, and unhappy.”

This writer does not think this radical a behavior and attitude change can be attributed to positive changes in the client’s life. The changes observed in Urich are so severe that it can only be indicative of some sort of significant negative development. Unfortunately, as long as the client denies any recent traumas, there are no substances in his system, and he continues to reject a full psychiatric work, it is impossible to identify what might be the cause. Additionally, Urich’s behavior, while worrisome, does not rise to the level where this writer can request a psychological hold under New York statutes.

Even if he stuck with his assertion that he was Hobgoblin, there is nothing to be done. He must make specific threats against individuals with a clear plan indicated before Tarasoff comes into play and this writer can alert the police and the intended victim(s).

For now, myself and the staff can only continue to urge Urich to admit what else is happening with and/or to see a psychiatrist while closely monitoring his behaviors for any other signs of distress or for a moment where he crosses the line enough for a hold to be ordered.

For more on Phil Urich, please see the case labeled AMAZING SPIDER-MAN #695, available for review on October 3 from Doctor Dan Slott and Doctor Giuseppe Camuncoli.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens, MA is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Practicum Trainee who currently provides therapy and outreach at a state university.

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