Rocket Raccoon presents, as the name suggests, as a full-sized adult raccoon. However, he walks upright, wears clothes, and communicates via spoken English. Medical files and the client’s own statements indicate he is a raccoon who was genetically altered to be more human not vice versa, a point that is perhaps worthy of note but not likely to influence this writer’s approach to therapy.
That having been said, there was some early concern about whether an animal could consent to being treated. The determination, which this writer argued for and supports, is that Rocket is clearly capable of rational thought, assessment, and decision making on his own behalf; there is no reason not to consider him “human” for the sake of therapy. Additionally, given his presentation, his apparent emotional and physical level of maturity, and his prior experiences, it was determined that while his age might not be equal to “adult” for humans (18 years old) he should not be treated as a minor.
The client was referred by his teammate and friend Peter Quill, the costumed cosmic adventurer known as Star-Lord. The two have a prior relationship and currently serve alongside one another on the space-faring team called the Guardians of the Galaxy. This writer has been unable to determine if the Guardians are a formal organization with recognized responsibilities and rights or simply a confederation of like-minded “heroes,” more akin to vigilantes of the stars.
The client’s main concerns stem from recent revelations about the validity of many of his memories. Evidently, much of his early recollections were either altered or outright fabrications. After the experiences of the 70’s and 80’s, psychology now strives to steer clear of repressed memories and generally regards them as unreliable if not downright untrue.
In the case of Rocket, however, this writer has agreed to treat because the focus is not on unearthing, clarifying, or pursuing prosecutions based on said memories, but rather on dealing with the emotions that have come with them being revealed. It is a subtle but important distinction that means the therapy remains ethical and prescribed.
Like many whose lives have predominantly been spent around or in combat, the client is cautious, slow to develop trust, and resistant to demonstrating vulnerability. Additionally as he spent considerable time working in an asylum, he is distrustful of mental health services, even if the system he was exposed to is dated by several years now and exists in a whole different galaxy. Nonetheless, he has arrived or checked-in (several of our sessions have been done via video contact) on time and seemed dedicated to maintaining his scheduled appointments. He is appropriate, if often sarcastic, in session, and seems respectful of this writer’s abilities and title. He may not be ready to open up in therapy yet, but he does seem serious about the process, at least.
Rocket Raccoon’s next session, notes available for review in ROCKET RACCOON #1, is scheduled for July 2 with Doctor Skottie Young.
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 reminds you that raccoons do not find it amusing when you claim the dark circles under your eyes from lack of sleep make you look like one of them. Think about it. That’s just rude.