Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Captain Marvel

Carol Danvers continues her therapy as she faces new hurdles in her personal life and as a super hero.

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By Tim Stevens

Carol Danvers presents as an adult female in excellent physical shape. Danvers has a long history of acting as a costumed hero—both on her own and with the Avengers—and under multiple alter egos, Captain Marvel being the most recent of these.

The client has a long relationship with this office in general, and this writer in specific. Her life has been a difficult one marked by several traumatic experiences. First amongst these are the explosion that resulted in a change in her physiology, a loss of some of what made her human and the inclusion of that which made her at least partially alien. A woman in the Armed Services at a time when resistance to females in such roles was strong, this was yet another barrier separating her from her fellow soldiers. In the years that followed, she experienced other shocking moments of disturbance, physical and emotional including kidnapping, inter-dimensional travel, sexual assault, loss of powers and personality to another, being the subject of forced experimentation, and alcoholism.

The client is also someone of tremendous strengths, however. She is in recovery and has been strong in said recovery for some time. She has overcome much of her trauma, accepting memories but no longer being overwhelmed by them.

Currently, this writer is consulting with several others due to Danvers suffering what is best characterized as a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Over the course of months, the client developed a lesion in her brain that appeared to be tied to her use of her ability to fly. Grounding herself, she prolonged the advance of the TBI. Unfortunately, in order to overcome a villain—Yon-Rogg—who seemed to be the cause of the lesion, Danvers sacrificed herself and flew into the upper atmosphere. Long-term it is unclear the cost. In the short term, it has resulted into the nearly complete loss of her memories.

As her therapist, this writer has been evaluating what this has meant in terms of her personality. It is typically believed that human personalities are shaped by both in-born characteristics and external experiences and therefore it is conceivable that the client may “appear” very similar now to her pre-TBI state. However, over time, differences may become quickly clear, which could carry high costs. For instance, Danvers’ alcoholism was developed over time due to an intersection of physical and experiential characteristics. Similarly, so is her decision to abstain. Without her memories, she may not have the same difficulties regarding alcohol. However, she might, but lack the motivation (because, without memories, the cost might not be “proven” to her yet) to not use alcohol.

At this early time, as the client recovers, the cost of her TBI is still very unclear. This writer and the team of other specialists will continue to closely monitor her as she physically recovers and be in frequent contact (as cleared by Danvers’ representation) to best figure out how the client is changing or has changed.

Accepting her alcoholism as reality, though, seems to have proven to be a turning point in the client’s life. She has been able to repair and improve her bonds with several of her fellow heroes, rise in prominence and responsibility, and generally increase her self acceptance. Her alcohol dependence is in long-term remission but she continues to work on it, pay attention for triggers, and seek out one of her sponsors when she feels the desire for relapse begin to rise. Her continued commitment to therapy speaks to her desire to not just “fix” symptoms but to explore the underlining causes and address them.

Carol Danvers’ next appointment with Doctors Kelly Sue DeConnick, Jen Van Meter and Patrick Olliffe is scheduled for August 28 and can be found under the file name CAPTAIN MARVEL #15.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens, MA is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Clinical Intern at a small New York City university.

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