Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Emma Frost

Read the mind of the X-Men’s volatile former psychic!

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The client, Emma Frost, is an adult woman who presents as being in excellent physical shape. She dresses in a manner that can be charitably described as inappropriate for sessions, but does fit with her typical style. As such, although it may be beyond norms, it is not beyond her norms and is therefore not considered a high therapeutic priority.

Frost often speaks in a patrician manner that seems almost British in syntax if not accent. Although born and raised in Massachusetts, she does seem to have come to this manner “honestly.” Her family was well-established and moneyed and she was raised in an environment of cold privilege. Although she eventually rejected those trappings to strike out on her own, her presentation remains indelibly connected to her childhood environment. This is not just seen in her manner of speaking but in how she interacts with most others, with what can be best described as a sense of superiority that ranges from vague to aggressively expressed, depending on with whom she is speaking. It also informs how she arranges her world, the way she chooses to move through life, the things she values, the people she chooses to interact with.

On the other hand, she has demonstrated in the past that she can be someone of great loyalty who is protective of the people she cares for. She also clearly values education, even if her definition of what that means is a bit askew. After being told she could not be a teacher by her father, she has dedicated her life to doing exactly that, be it with the Hellions (students of the Massachusetts Academy who were dedicated to a belief in mutant superiority), the so-called Generation X class (also of the Massachusetts Academy but embracing the Xavier Doctrine of peaceful co-existence), or various incarnations of the Xavier Institute.

      As a client, Frost lives up to her namesake. While she confesses a certain respect for therapists—although she does so because she believes the profession is full of “great manipulators”—she is loath to engage with or open up to the therapeutic process. She does have brief moments of vulnerability that indicate she has strong reservoirs of pain running through those ice water veins, but she seems miles away from allowing herself to acknowledge that pain long enough to truly begin to work on it. This is particularly the case with anything that touches her father’s treatment of her or the recent disintegration of her romantic relationship with Scott Summers, the mutant rights activist turned terrorist and fugitive Cyclops.

      And yet, it is undeniable that Frost came in for therapy of her own accord and continues to show up for ongoing therapy. Her demeanor suggests there is a part of her that wants to unburden herself; that wants to acknowledge or give voice to buried pain and secrets. For this alone, this writer remains optimistic.

      For further information on the client, look to file UNCANNY X-MEN #21, prepared for review by Doctors Brian Michael Bendis and Chris Bachalo and available on May 21. Also available on May 21 is file ORIGINAL SIN #2 by Doctors Jason Aaron and Mike Deodato.

      Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens, MA is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Psychology intern at a small(ish) university in New York City. He wears a special helmet created by Reed Richards while providing therapy to psychics and mindreaders.

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